Shish Taouk

Chicken Satay Kebabs/Shish Taouk

Shish Taouk/ Chicken Satay Kebabs is a traditional and popular marinated skewered chicken of Middle Eastern cuisine. Chunks of tender juicy chicken is marinated in earthy spices, yogurt, lemon juice and garlic, is grilled and served with pita bread or rice.

It is widely eaten in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, and Israel. A similar dish in Persian cuisine is the traditional jujeh kabab.It is served in kebab houses in many cities around the world.

Shish Taouk
Chicken Satay Kebabs/Shish Taouk

What does Shish Taouk/Tawook mean?

One commonly finds them in Lebanese restaurants being served as Lebanese Chicken skewers.Though this dish is authentically Turkish, it is also well known as a Lebanese dish.The Turkish influence on Lebanese food is best explained by the fact that the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire ruled Lebanon for a long time.

In Turkey,

  • Shish is the Turkish word for skewers.
  • Tawook is an adaptation on tavouk, which comes from the old Turkish takagu, meaning chicken.

will make a great addition to your next cookout! 

What makes Shish Taouk flavorful?

There are 3 main ingredients necessary to get an incredibly flavorful Shish Taouk/Chicken Satay Kebab.

They are :

  • Yogurt
  • Lemon
  • Garlic

Marinating the chicken chunks in yogurt and lemon helps tenderized the meat ( the lactic acid and calcium present in the yogurt helps break down the protein in the meat, making it tender and moist).Addition of lemon juice adds to the lighter brighter flavor, while garlic provides the spicy sweet flavor to the dish.

Addition of the spices ( I have given an Indian twist to this recipe by adding red chili powder instead of paprika) the rest of the ingredients are pretty much the same as the traditional recipe. One might choose to garnish with parsley if one desires, I did not, either way it tastes great.

Some prefer tomato paste, some tomato puree to add to the marinade, again it’s your choice, I added tomato puree.I like the freshly made puree compared to canned tomato paste.

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How long should I marinade the dish?

Ideally marinating it overnight renders the perfect flavor ensuring tender and juicy Shish Taouk. However, if you are running short of time anywhere from 1-4 hours should work.

How to serve Shish Taouk?

Shish Tavouk is served differently in different places, depending on the region where you are eating it.

In Turkey, where the dish originated from Shish Taouk is served with rice and grilled vegetables.

In Lebanon and Syria, Shish Tavouk is commonly served as a pita ‘sandwich’ with creamy garlic paste called toum (like an aioli or garlic mayo) and tomatoes.

Irrespective of how you serve it, this dish is a must in your summer grilling agenda, since it makes for a great addition for your cookout season!

Shish Taouk/Chicken Satay recipe

Chicken Satay Kebabs/Shish Taouk

Chicken Satay Kebabs/Shish Taouk

Recipe by Maya Shetty
Course: CHICKEN -DRY PREPARATION, CHICKEN DISHES, FOODCuisine: Indian, Middle Eastern, Turkish
0.0 from 0 votes

Prep time


Cooking time




Total time




  • For marinade
  • 2 lbs Chicken breast clean & cut into small pieces

  • 1/4 cup Yogurt/Curds

  • 1 Lemon juiced

  • 1 Tomato pureed/paste

  • 5 -6 Garlic cloves crushed

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil

  • 1 tsp Red Chili powder can substitute with paprika as per preference

  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder

  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper Powder

  • to taste Salt

  • For skewers
  • 7 -8 Wooden skewers soaked in water

  • 1 Onion slices (optional)

  • 8 -10 Cherry Tomatoes (optional)

  • 2 Bell peppers (multi-colored) (optional)


  • In a mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients required for the marinade.
  • Place the clean & cut chicken pieces in a sealable container or a ziplock bag. Next pour the marinade on top of the chicken pieces, making sure all the chicken pieces are well coated.
  • Cover the container or the ziplock bag and refrigerate it. If you can refrigerate overnight, the flavors would be enhanced, but if running short of time, 4 hours of marinating should work too.
  • Preheat your grill/oven at 350F for 10 minutes.
  • Next thread the marinated chicken pieces on to the soaked skewers mixing your choice of vegetables like bell peppers, onion, cherry tomatoes etc pressing them close to each other.
  • Next grill the chicken skewers for 8-10 minutes on each side, gently turning them over until the chicken is firm and turns golden brown
  • Serve it with pita bread, rice or grilled vegetables of your choice.


  • The yogurt and lemon add to the flavor, but also  help to tenderize the meat as it marinates.

Nutrition Facts

  • Amount Per ServingCalories1480
  • % Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 53g 82%
    • Saturated Fat 9g 45%
  • Cholesterol 581mg 194%
  • Sodium 1128mg 47%
  • Potassium 4367mg 125%
  • Total Carbohydrate 37g 13%
    • Dietary Fiber 9g 36%
    • Sugars 14g
  • Protein 199g 398%

  • Vitamin A 55%
  • Vitamin C 156%
  • Calcium 15%
  • Iron 33%

* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Tips for making the best Shish Taouk

  • Use plain full fat yogurt to marinate the chicken chunks, it helps to keep the chicken pieces moist because of its high water content.It is a better choice compared to the Greek Yogurt some use to marinate the chicken pieces with.
  • For juicy, moist chicken it is best to marinate it overnight in the refrigerator, so the juices of the chicken blends well with the flavors of the spicy marinade. If running short of time, then marinate it anywhere from 1- 4 hours.
  • It is important to soak the wooden skewers in water, for half hour to 45 minutes to prevent them from burning while grilling and also to avoid any wood chips from getting into the Shish Taouk.
  • If using Pita bread, then cover the chicken immediately with pita bread after grilling since this traps the vapors and holds the moisture, making the chicken more juicy. One can serve it as pita sandwich, this way.
  • If using rice to pair the Shish Taouk dish with , then wrap the chicken with tin foil as soon as it is done grilling. This will allow the moisture to lock in and render juicy chicken.

How long does Shish Taouk/grilled chicken keep?

Shish Taouk is best served as soon as it is cooked.

If there are leftovers, then it is best to keep them in airtight containers in the refrigerator. They last for about 3-4 days this way.

When ready to serve reheat the chicken skewers and wrap them in foil to prevent dryness until ready to serve.

Some prefer cold leftover to top their sandwich or in salads.

What is the difference between kofta and shish?

Kofta is ground meat with spices (sometimes veggies) while kebabs are mostly meat chunks.

What is the difference between Shish Taouk and Shawarma?

The spices used in the dishes is what makes the two dishes different.

Chicken Shawarma is a deeply flavored dish due to abundant use of warm spices like cinnamon, allspice, etc

Shish Taouk, on the other hand uses marinated chicken with the brightness and lightness of lemon flavor.

What is the Greek version of Shish kebab called?

Souvlaki is a popular Greek fast food consisting of small pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables grilled on a skewer.

What’s the difference between a kebab and a souvlaki?

Souvlaki was traditionally made of pork in Greece whereas lamb meat was used to prepare kebabs in old times. Souvlaki is also served as pita sandwich, whereas kebabs are served in plates, to be eaten with Roti or on their own.

Variations of Shish Taouk

  • Japan has yakitori which is grilled skewered fowl.
  • In Franceshish kebabs are called brochettes, meaning “skewers.
  • Portuguese espetadas are beef shish kebabs marinated in wine and roasted on an open fire. 
  • Lahm mishwy is the equivalent of shish kebab in Arabic. The meat of choice is usually lamb, and it is cooked over a fire on a skewer holder.
  • In Asian countries, there’s satay or sate, which is roasted skewered meat, usually chicken served with a dipping sauce that’s often made from peanuts.

The Bottom Line

Its that time of the year again for barbecues and cookouts! Are you going to give this fusion dish a chance this weekend? Try this Shish Taouk/Chicken Satay recipe for the 4th of July celebrations and let us know how it turned out for you in the comments section below.

Who can resist this deliciously flavorful , beautifully grilled pieces of chicken ? Be it on an outdoor grill or indoors, they taste just delicious both a starter or a side.

Happy 4th of July!

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3 years ago

Sounds so good! I’m vegan so not something I can make but I loved learning about this fish.

Eva Keller
3 years ago

5 stars
This looks awesome! Great recipe!

3 years ago

Pinned it! LOVE your recipes! I always look forward to your posts! Thank you for sharing!

3 years ago

These look mouthwatering!

3 years ago

My husband just bought some new skewers and is dying to try them out. This looks like the perfect recipe.

3 years ago

I loved learning about your authentic version. This sounds delicious!

3 years ago

I love satay anything! This looks like a great option to try!

3 years ago

This looks delicious!

Douglas Jasper
Douglas Jasper
3 years ago

5 stars
This looks yummy. We will have to try it.

Erica Pittenger
Erica Pittenger
3 years ago

I love that you always give such wonderful descriptions and history with your recipes! It’s like getting a hug from you!

Alexis Farmer
3 years ago

Looks super yummy!

3 years ago

Looks very yummy, and easy too.

3 years ago

We make Tandoori kababs all the time! We cheat and use an MDH box, but it’s so delicious! Thanks for sharing your secrets!

Laura Lee
3 years ago

I love chicken satay! This looks like a great recipe to try on the grill this summer!

3 years ago

These look so good and are perfect for this time of year. Thanks for the recipe!

3 years ago

5 stars
This is such a yummy recipe!

3 years ago

Great little background on chicken satay! Yours looks so good love chicken satay, I usually eat mine with peanut sauce!

heather J jandrue
3 years ago

This sounds delightful!

Sabrina DeWalt
3 years ago

Looking forward to giving this one a shot!

3 years ago
Reply to  Maya Shetty

Sounds yummy and easy to make.

Lisa Manderino
Lisa Manderino
3 years ago

I am going to to have to try this recipe out! Looks so delicious!