Frustrate your frustrations!

“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 Tawook 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 Tawook? It is essentially grilled chicken cubes! The use of garlic in Shish Tawook is essential, and garlic can either be overly overwhelming (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 Tawook altogether. It was giving me a headache!

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! Chicken is a protein laden food, that also happens to be a lighter option than red meats. The change is necessary any how! Grilled chicken is super easy to prepare and can be done with many marinades and flavour combinations. 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. So, chicken, I have been cooking 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!

Only when it came to the silly Shish Tawook! It just did not want to work! Everyone laughs when I tell them about my Shish Tawook frustration. It seems everyone has a recipe, and it is unanimously agreed to be an easy recipe! But I, in the other hand, seemed to be in a cubed chicken hell!

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 the chicken skewers in the oven. The only difference really is that you won’t get the smoky flavour that comes from the burning charcoal in BBQs. Oh well! When the weather cools down, you can use this same Shish Tawook recipe for BBQ get togethers. Did I say Shish Tawook recipe?

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that I have finally found my perfect Shish Tawook 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 thoughts: ‘this is supposed to be a 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 marinate 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 in my oven. Made a Vinaigrette dressed Coleslaw and ate.

To my surprise, it was the best Shish Tawook I have made, I actually loved it! And am sure you will too.

I have included for you one of my favourite Salad videos. I love the concept of making the salads ahead to ensure you actually have your vegetables every day.


  • 400g chicken fillets
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup DS Premium Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3/4 cup yogurt
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp fine lemon zest
  • 1 tsp DS Meat & Poultry Spice Mix
  • Pinch DS Himalayan Pink Salt
  • Black pepper to taste

Marinate the chicken for at least 3 hours in the fridge for the flavours to infuse.

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.

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 of my awesome pickles on the side.

Try it with DS Turnip Pickles, DS Cauliflower Pickles, DS Cucumber Pickles. And if you are into spicy then both DS Red Shatta and DS Green Shatta work very well here. The Satta can either be added in the marinade or after grilling. Especially good if you are making a sandwich!

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