SMOKY YOGURT KEBAB.
It’s any meat on a stick, but here we’re using chicken thighs, smoky paprika, and creamy Greek yogurt for a spicy, smoky, juicy take. The lemon adds a nice tang, while the red onions add a little bit of sweetness and crunch. This is a great main for a BBQ since most of the work is done ahead of time, leaving you just plop the kebabs on the grill when you’re ready.
Feel free to throw on any other veggies while you’ve got the grill fired up and cooking, or just serve this simply over rice or couscous. You can also go all out with pitas and tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles, onion, and tzatziki or tahini sauce. It’s versatile enough that you have lots of options, and tasty enough that you’ll want to try them all! The leftovers heat up PERFECTLY, so this is also a great recipe to make at the beginning of the week and pack with you for lunch on salads or with veggies or grains. And if you do it right, you don’t even get a bowl dirty.
You will need:
For the marinade:
- 1 C full fat Plain Greek Yogurt
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 t smoked paprika
- 1/2 t turmeric
- 1 T salt
- 1/4 t cayenne or 1 t red pepper flakes
- 1/2 t garam masala (can sub cumin)
- 1 t pepper
- 1 lemon
- 5 garlic cloves
For the kebab:
- 2.5lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 red onion
Trim the fat from the chicken (don’t get too crazy, just get the big chunks off), then cut it into 1.5″ chunks (about the same size as an Oreo). Wash your hands and cutting board (or get out another board if you’re just flush with kitchen accoutrement). Zest the lemon (just the yellow part!), then either finely chop your garlic or push it through a press.
If you have a gallon-size Ziplock bag, grab that, add the lemon zest and garlic, then measure the remaining marinade ingredients right into it. Squeeze the lemon into the bag, as well. Squish it a little, then add the chicken chunks and squish it around to get the marinade all over the chicken. If you don’t have a bag, just whisk the marinade in a bowl and add the chicken pieces, coating them all.
Throw the chicken in the fridge (cover the bowl if you’ve made them in one), and wait 4-24 hours.
If you’re having a party and don’t want any last-minute prep, make up the skewers ahead of time and just keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to grill, covered loosely with foil.
To assemble your kebab, either soak bamboo skewers in water or use metal skewers. If you’ve only got wooden ones, don’t try to soak them in a pan, they will just rise to the top. I put them in a water bottle, fill it with water, then put the lid on it, to make sure they’re all under water. They need about 30 minutes. You can also live dangerously and NOT soak the skewers, but they will probably catch on fire and disintegrate, which is not really what we’re going for, here.
Chop the onion into wedges, and alternately thread the chicken pieces and onion onto the skewers. You can put them pretty close, just don’t pack it on so tightly that it’s a big meat stick on the skewer or it will take a lot longer to cook.
Fire up your grill to medium high (or do whatever it is you do with charcoal grills… light the rocks?). After about 5 minutes, brush and oil the grate.
Grill the kebabs, rotating them a quarter turn every 3-4 minutes, until they’ve been grilled on all sides and the inside registers 160-165F on an instant thermometer. It should take anywhere between 12-20 minutes, all in all. They’ll get charred in spots from the milk solids in the yogurt, do NOT worry that they are burning.
They smell sooooo good on the grill, you guys. Your neighbors are going to be angling for a dinner invite. When the kebabs are done, transfer them to a platter and either serve on the skewers or push the meat off the skewers for an easier time. Sneak a bite before you serve them, then pat yourself on the back for another job well done.