About a million years ago, when I was a whole different person who cooked a lot less but loved to eat, I met my best friend in Turkey. Back then we specialized in confounding parents and traveling as far away as possible. I can't remember why we even picked Turkey except neither of us had been and that was probably as good a reason as any.
What we discovered of course had been experienced for millennia by other travelers. After the sites and history and unbelievable scenery, this was a land of great food! Spices and dried fruit, coffee strong enough to support a Popsicle stick, and apple tea offered as a courtesy in every store. East and west were represented equally (I distinctly remember a phenomenal Chinese dinner in a hotel restaurant!)
But what impressed us most, in every city we explored, was the deliciousness of the chicken kabobs (ok, I'll admit the wide variety of spellings,”kebop” for example, also made us laugh daily. I told you – provincial.) We ate it right up to departure day, digging into the chicken and rice pilaf without utensils on the drive to the airport. I believe we may have been that restaurants's first take away experience!
Nothing tickles the fancy as much as meat on a stick, which is what my kids call it. Seasoning is based on taste – Asian flavors, Middle East, BBQ. Do what you like. In this version, I offer a mashup, but if you want to try it, marinating in yoghurt makes the chicken really tender, plus it's self basting, making the flavors stick like glue.
1 pound skinless boneless chicken in bite sized pieces – I use thighs for insurance against over-cooking and extra flavor
Small container plain Greek yoghurt
3 cloves garlic minced or smashed through a press
3 scallions chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
A healthy amount of pepper
Veggie oil for the pan
Mix everything but the oil and let those bad boys marinate all day, or at least a few hours. Even 20 minutes on the counter! Soak 4 sticks for 15 minutes in water. Preheat oven to 375. Thread 5-6 pieces of chicken on each stick. I cheated my way around the grilling (February, pouring). Heat a large oven proof skillet on stove. Coat bottom with oil. Add chicken. When brown, flip and put in oven. Should cook within 20. Throw on the broiler for extra color.
In season, it's great on the grill, but yoghurt can make it stick so make sure the grill is super seasoned.
A squeeze of fresh lemon would have been good, but I was out. Anyway, my daughter told me I always say that.
Sorry for the nostalgic story, enjoy the chicken – B