This is a popular grilled chicken dish and regional versions of it exist in all Arab countries. My family was introduced to it while traveling in Egypt. In the US, I have found it to be the standard fare at most Middle Eastern restaurants and if one is trying to eat healthy yet flavorful chicken, this is a great option because most often it uses boneless chicken breasts and it has a very low fat content. Other than being a healthy option, it is tastes good and is easy to cook – what could be better than that!
1. 2.5-3 lbs of boneless chicken breast
2. Two fresh lemons
3. 5-6 garlic cloves
4. One medium sized shallot
5. 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
6. A teaspoon of paprika
7. A teaspoon of cumin seeds
8. 2 teaspoons of sumac (available at Middle Eastern stores)
9. 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
10. 1 teaspoon of salt (or as per taste) and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1. Cut the chicken breasts into approximately 2 square inch cubes.
2. Squeeze the juice of the two lemons.
3. Peel the garlic cloves and the shallot.
4. Prepare the marinade by grinding the shallots, garlic cloves, cumin seeds and mixing them with the lemon juice, olive oil, turmeric powder, paprika, pepper and salt.
5. Pour the marinade over the chicken pieces and mix thoroughly.
8. Tightly skewer the chicken pieces on long metal skewers and grill over a charcoal grill for approximately 7-8 minutes on each side or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
9. Sprinkle Sumac powder over the chicken and serve over saffron basmati rice pilaf and with a side of salad, mint raita and pickled vegetables.