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Shish Tawook with Garlic Sauce

Shish tawook is one of the most popular skewers at barbecue gatherings in the Levant.

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It’s always made with chicken but the marinade differs from one region to another, and even from one family to another. Here, Hunaidi reveals her family recipe from her own mother’s kitchen. Don’t skip the garlic sauce — it’s deceptively simple but adds so much flavor to this dish.

30 min



  • 1 head garlic
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin oil, divided
  • ½ cup Balkan yogurt or whole-milk regular yogurt
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

Chicken skewers

  • ⅓ cup Balkan yogurt or whole-milk regular yogurt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp each ground ginger and sea salt
  • 1¼ lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch cubes


  • 6 metal or wooden skewers (soaked if using wooden)


  1. Heat a greased grill to medium-high.
  2. Prepare sauce: With your hands, break down the head of garlic into cloves with their peel, wrap in foil and drizzle with one-half of oil. Place on the grill for about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare chicken: In a large bowl, mix together yogurt, tomato paste, honey, garlic, ginger and salt. Add chicken and toss to coat. (TIP: If you have more time, you can marinate chicken in yogurt mixture in the refrigerator up to 4 hours.)
  4. Divide chicken among skewers. Grill, covered, for 10 to 12 minutes, turning once halfway.
  5. Meanwhile, finish sauce: Carefully remove roasted garlic from foil, peel and place in a medium bowl. With a fork, smash the garlic, adding remaining one-half of oil. Stir in yogurt and salt. (TIP: Adding the oil first helps transform the garlic into a paste much faster.)
  6. Serve the chicken skewers with the sauce.

Chef’s Tip

Serve these fragrant chicken skewers with salad and rice, or make it as a wrap: Split a pita open, leaving one side attached, add stuffing to the center toward one side, and roll it up like a souvlaki.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories 251
  • Carbohydrate Content 12 g
  • Cholesterol Content 87 mg
  • Fat Content 9 g
  • Fiber Content 1 g
  • Protein Content 31 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 3 g
  • Sodium Content 700 mg
  • Sugar Content 7 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat Content 4 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat Content 1 g