Shish Tawook (Garlicky Grilled Chicken Skewers)

Story and Recipes by Debbi Snook | Wine Commentary by Gary Twining 
Photos by Beth Segal

In the Middle East, garlic and lemon are dynamic partners with chicken. Our Shish Tawook recipe grills quickly, and the garlic sauce on the side is unforgettable.

  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts (about 2), cut into 1-1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces


  • 5 cloves fresh garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt

Blend all marinade ingredients in food processor or blender. Toss with chicken and marinate in refrigerator 4-8 hours.

Place chicken on skewers, keeping an even thickness, and alternating with peppers and onions.

Grill over high heat 6-8 minutes, turning once, until meat reaches 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Let rest 5 minutes. Serve with garlic sauce.  

Serves 2-4. Easily doubled.

Garlic Sauce

  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 TBS water

Blend garlic, salt and juice in a food processor or blender. With machine running, add olive oil slowly, then water. Makes about 1/2 cup.

Gary: Look for a white wine with texture and acidity to stand up to the citric quality of the lemon and the pungency of the garlic and marinade spices. While chicken is mellow, it also offers some weight, so a richer white wine would certainly be an appropriate choice, as would be a ripe and mellow red.  Look for a crisp sparkling wine, such as a Crémant de Limoux or Cava (white or rosé). Consider a Mâcon-Villages Chardonnay, a Viognier, a Vermentino, a Godello, an Albariño, a Provence or Spanish rosé or a Greek Roditis. For reds, seek out a plush Grenache (Southern Rhône), a Monastrell (Mourvèdre), a Naoussa or a St. George Agiorgitiko.


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