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Sunday, 12 August 2012

Shish Tawooq & Recipe Frustrations

This post is Sponsored by Tavola, the Middle East's exclusive retailers of high quality European fine Kitchen & Tableware brands.
As part of Dima's Kitchen Ramadan SpecialTavola are sponsoring 3 Giveaways for Dima's Kitchen Readers. For details on the giveaways and how to enter the draw, please follow this link.
This post is written to explain to you how to make best use of the Staub Grill Pan (giveaway sponsored by Tavola) & to give you a delicious recipe that showcases the perfect grilling property of this cast iron grill pan.
Press this link for this recipe in Arabic

Home-grilled Shish Tawooq Skewers

“I want you to have big dreams, big goals. I want you to strive to achieve them. But I don't want to see you beating yourself up every time you make a mistake.”  -  Kelley Armstrong, The Gathering

I have been for a while experimenting with Shish Tawooq recipes. I must have tried over a dozen recipes. There seemed to either be something missing, or something not right, something off, or something not balanced! I was confused! How hard is a Shish Tawooq? It is essentially grilled chicken cubes! The use of garlic in Shish Tawooq is essential, and garlic can either be overly overwhelming or majorly imbalanced against the rest of the flavours. For some very strange reason, it was just not working out! I was getting frustrated and noticed that the more frustrated I got, the worse the recipe came out! I decided to drop Shish Tawooq altogether. It was giving me a headache!

I love to use my Mortar & Pestle for making Marinades,
I even sometimes use it for serving Guacamole :)
I have bought this beautiful Granite Mortar & Pestle from Tavola

Grilled Chicken is one very useful item to master. Because you can have it on its own, next to pastas, rice dishes, in a sandwich, or even over salad! Grilled chicken is super easy to prepare and can be done with many marinades and flavour palates. If you cut them into cubes and skewer them, they are a fabulous BBQ option. Most people eat chicken, and most people prefer chicken over meat. And chicken, I cooked in all shapes, methods and flavours. I even make a killer version of roasted chicken. I almost use it with everything I cook that includes chicken. Not only that, but I even use the juices for chicken broth! Ah! Delicious!
Only when it came to the silly Shish Tawooq! It just did not want to work! 
Everyone laughs when I tell them about my Shish Tawooq frustration. It seems everyone has a recipe, and it is unanimously agreed to be an easy recipe! But I seemed to be in a cubed chicken hell!

Shish Tawooq - The finished marinade

It is summer, and while in Dubai we cannot spontaneously throw a BBQ get together due to the beautiful weather outside! We can still grill chicken in a way that tastes very similar to the BBQ chicken skewers. Thanks to Staub Grill Pan (giveaway by Tavola for a lucky reader), and to the cast iron cooking properties, you will be able to achieve the same texture of BBQ chicken, and almost the same flavour. The only difference is you won't get the smoky flavour that comes from the burning charcoal in BBQs. When the weather cools down, you can use this same Shish Tawooq recipe for BBQ get togethers. Did I say Sish Tawooq recipe? 
Oh yes, I forgot to mention that I have finally found my perfect Shish Tawooq balance. As it turned out, the imbalance was due to the extra ingredient I kept on adding to the recipe. I was continuously adding this stream of thoughs: 'this is supposed to be very easy recipe', 'how come it is not working'! And the fact that I forgot to focus on just the food! One day, I was in a rush and wanted to marinade some chicken cubes before I head out. I just wanted to come back home for a fast, easy and healthy meal. Without too much thought I just mixed the ingredients I felt will give the chicken a good flavour. Mixed everything well, marinated the chicken, and placed it in the fridge. In the evening, I skewered the chicken and grilled on my Staub Grill Pan. Made a Vinaigrette dressed Coleslaw and ate. To my surprise, it was the best Shish Tawooq I have made, I actually loved it! And am sure you will too. 

So get your grill pan out and let's make some delicious Shish Tawooq....

The skewered marinated chicken cubes

Ramadan Recipe 22
Shish Tawooq
Marinate the chicken for at least 3 hours in the fridge for the flavours to infuse.

Simple Good ingredients make
simple good food

You Need
400g chicken fillets
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup yogurt
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp oregano
1 spring fresh thyme
1 tsp fine lemon zest
1/4 tsp cardamom
a pinch of cinnamon
a pinch of ground all spice
Salt & Black pepper to taste

Clean and cube your chicken fillets. Do not cut the cubes too small as they will come out even smaller when done. Go for medium size cubes. Place the cubes in a medium bowl and set aside.

Marinate for at least 3 hours before cooking

Make the marinade, mix all the ingredients together very well to make a well incorporated and not separated marinade. Pour all the marinade over the cubes chicken and mix to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

Place your grill pan on the stove top over high heat. Leave it to heat up. Meanwhile Skewer the cubes on short bamboo or metal skewers. I prefer bamboo skewers because they won't scratch your grill pan.
Reduce the heat under the grill pan to medium and Grill the skewers for 4-5 minutes on each side or until cooked through and white (not pink) on the inside.

Place the cooked skewers on a serving platter and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with garlic paste and some pickles on the side.

Find Grilled Meat Cubes recipe here
I hope you enjoyed today's post. If you are taking part in Dima's Kitchen Ramadan Special then good luck, hopefully you will win this amazing Staub grill pan sponsored by Tavola. One more week left and Ramadan will be over, so make sure to cook all the recipes that you can from this blog and send me the photos! The competition is fierce as you can see here, but hey it is still anyone's game! You have gone this far, so go ahead and keep going :)
Come back again tomorrow for more, and let me hear from you before you go; leave me a comment ;)

Remember to like Tavola's facebook page in order to qualify for this fabulous giveaway
Ramadan Kareem