Shish Taouk with Toum (Chicken Kebabs with Garlic Sauce)

By • June 10, 2010 • 24 Comments



Author Notes: When I mentioned this week's contest (Your Best Use of Lemon, Thyme and a Grill) to my wife, she looked at me and said, "There is no more perfect dish on the planet to enter into this contest than Shish Taouk." And you know what? She was right. This is a dish that she ate ravenously as a child in Lebanon, and it's no surprise why. The freshness of the lemon- and thyme-marinated chicken, the addictive qualities of the toum (garlic sauce), the salty chew of the grilled halloumi, and the spice and sweetness of the peppadews and the grilled lemon make every bite a celebration. We love this served on Syrian bread, but it would also be great alongside some rice or couscous. Oui, Chef

Food52 Review: WHO: Oui, Chef is a father of five who spent two years in France studying the culinary arts.
WHAT: Chicken, vegetables, and halloumi cheese come together with a lemony garlic sauce atop a warm flatbread.
HOW: As grilled chicken marinates in a yogurt-lemon sauce, make a smooth garlic emulsion in the blender. Skewer the chicken, plenty of vegetables, halloumi, and lemon, then cook on the grill. Pile it all on bread, cover in garlic sauce, and dig in.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We’ll take any excuse to use our blender for reasons other than smoothies. Power up your machine to make a creamy sauce flavored with lemon and garlic -- it's the perfect complement to tangy, smoky chicken. Oh yeah, and halloumi cheese. Enough said.
A&M

Serves 4

For the shish taouk

  • 1 cup Greek-style yogurt
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon za'atar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon pimentón (smoked paprika)
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 12 crimini mushrooms
  • 12 peppadew peppers
  • 12 cipollini onions
  • 2 zucchini, cut into large chunks
  • 2 blocks of halloumi cheese, cut into large chunks
  • 2 lemons for grilling, cut into rounds or wedges
  • 4 rounds of fresh Syrian bread
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme, finely chopped

For the toum (garlic sauce)

  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Large pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2/3 cups canola oil
  • Small bowl of ice water
  • Up to 1/2 cup of high-quality mayonnaise
  1. The night before you want to cook: Mix the first 9 ingredients, from the yogurt to the pimentón, in a large bowl. Cut the chicken into medium-sized chunks, toss in the marinade, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to grill.
  2. To make the toum (garlic sauce), put the garlic cloves, the salt, and 1/4 of the lemon juice in a blender. Blend on medium speed until the garlic is chopped, scraping down the sides as necessary. With the blender still on medium speed, add the egg white through the feed tube and continue to blend. Add half the oil in a slow, thin stream. At this stage, the emulsification should have taken hold. Switch to a slow blend and slowly add the rest of the lemon juice. Add the rest of the oil in the same fashion.
  3. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of ice water while still mixing on low. At this point you should have a sauce with the consistency of a light mayonnaise. Taste for salt and to check the strength of the garlic flavor. If needed, either to thicken the sauce or to cut the raw garlic punch a bit, whisk in up to 1/2 cup of mayonnaise. Reserve the sauce for dressing your grilled shish taouk.
  4. When's your ready to make the kebabs, preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  5. Place the onions in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook for about 5 minutes, to parboil the onions. Remove from the heat and rinse with cold water to cool. Peel and discard the skins and and save the onions for grilling.
  6. Take the chunks of halloumi and zucchini, the onions, mushrooms, peppers, and lemon slices and toss them in a bowl. Drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss to coat, then place each ingredient on its own metal or pre-soaked wooden skewers for grilling.
  7. Take the chicken from the fridge and skewer the chunks as you did the veggies. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  8. Grill each skewer until it reaches your desired degree of doneness, remove to a platter, and tent with foil to keep warm until all the skewers are complete.
  9. To serve, place a mix of grilled ingredients on a round of warmed Syrian bread, top with a generous helping of toum, sprinkle with chopped fresh thyme, and squirt with a grilled lemon wedge. Devour at will.
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Tags: barbecue, Middle Eastern, savory

Comments (24) Questions (1)

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25 days ago mstv

In the directions for the garlic sauce it refers to olive oil but it lists canola oil in the ingredients. Which is correct?

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29 days ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congrats- this is one of my favorite dishes! Thrilled to see this recipe!

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29 days ago Grapevineforge

Looks like a perfect match for the Hand Forged Skewers from Provisions by Food52! https://food52.com/provisions...

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about 3 years ago braisinfoodie

This was so wonderful! I made a za'atar paste with fresh herbs from my garden and it was extra delicious. We ate this last night and I now having a craving for more toum-dipped pita.

Audrey_and_sarah

about 4 years ago hennef7

Dear Chef,

I live in the burbs and don't have easy access to halloumi. Can you recommend any substitution?

Audrey

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about 4 years ago thirschfeld

I have so been looking for a dish like this. I am glad you posted it. It will be put at the top of the "to make list".

Christine-28_small(1)

about 4 years ago cheese1227

Wonderful! I love halloumi.

Steve_dunn02

about 4 years ago Oui, Chef

With a name like cheese1227, how could you not? For me, the halloumi is one of the surprise stars of this dish. I think you can switch out veggies to suit your tastes, but the halloumi is a must. Thanks for the comment!

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about 4 years ago thelastcourse

Really sounds wonderful. I am saving this one!

Steve_dunn02

about 4 years ago Oui, Chef

Thanks, it is great dish to add to your summer grilling repertoire. - S

Ry_400

about 4 years ago melissav

Wow! Definitely making this over the weekend.

Steve_dunn02

about 4 years ago Oui, Chef

Excellent, melissav...please let me know what you think. - S

Ry_400

about 4 years ago melissav

The garlic sauce is oh so good. We really loved it. It reminded me of the garlic sauce at this wonderful lebanese restaurant we used to go to all the time when we lived in Tampa. Thanks for the memories! I'll be making it again and again.

Me

about 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

This sounds so interesting!! This is completely new dish to me too, but it sounds like something I would LOVE.

Steve_dunn02

about 4 years ago Oui, Chef

Thanks Chezsuzanne, the bold middle-eastern flavors in the dish make you feel like your on an exotic vacation with every bite. - S

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about 4 years ago lapadia

Ohhh, grilled skewer chicken, vegetables, garlic sauce, Syrian bread; brings back days gone by with my Lebanese friend and her family gatherings…thanks for the memories!

Steve_dunn02

about 4 years ago Oui, Chef

You're welcome lapadia. I've yet to travel to lebanon myself, but REALLY love their food. I hope to get there in the next few years and try this dish in its land of origin. - S

Monkeys

about 4 years ago monkeymom

This looks so great! Thanks for intro to it.

Monkeys

about 4 years ago monkeymom

THE intro. ugh there is no editing feature!

Steve_dunn02

about 4 years ago Oui, Chef

Thanks monkeymom! With grilling season upon us, I hope you give it a try soon.

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about 4 years ago ENunn

Yeah. Toum is something we should all be eating for breakfast. I was obsessed with it for a time. Now, I am again. Thank you.

Steve_dunn02

about 4 years ago Oui, Chef

You're welcome. I agree with you, ENunn, even breakfast foods taste better dipped in a little Toum. You know me...I'm happy to fuel anyone's obsessions, as long as they're legal. - S

Winnie100

about 4 years ago WinnieAb

I am all over this amazingly delicious-looking (and completely new to me) dish!

Steve_dunn02

about 4 years ago Oui, Chef

Thanks Winnie! You're such an adventurous and terrific cook of such a wide variety of cuisines, I'm a tad surprised that this dish is new to you, but I'm very pleased to make the introduction. I know you'll love it when you give it a try.