The warmth of the spices combined with the cool yogurt sauce is a perfect match in this chicken kebab recipe. The yogurt keeps the chicken moist during cooking, making it virtually goof proof! This recipe is quick and easy to make, can be made outdoors on the grill in the summer or brought indoors during colder months.
Technique tip: To bring out the essential oils and flavors, toast spices prior to grinding. Adding the yogurt to the marinade ensures that the chicken stays moist when cooking.
Swap option: Salmon can be swapped for the chicken with no need to marinate. If you want a different flavor profile for the spice blend, swap out the sweet paprika for smoked paprika and add 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper — it will add a smoky-spicy element to the blend.
Special equipment: 12-inch bamboo skewers (soaked in water for 30 minutes) or metal skewers.
MEDITERRANEAN SPICE BLEND (MAKES APPROXIMATELY 3 TABLESPOONS)
- 1½ teaspoons cumin seed
- 1¼ teaspoons coriander seeds
- 3/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1¼ teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 cup plain greek yogurt
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Mediterranean spice blend (recipe above)
- 3/4 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs; cut into 1½-inch cubes
- 4 large pitas
- Mint leaves, thinly sliced
- Lemon wedges
For the Mediterranean spice blend:
Place cumin seeds, coriander seeds and black peppercorns in a small skillet. Lightly toast over medium heat until fragrant. Let cool, then grind using mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Combine all dry spices in a small bowl and set aside.
For the garlic-yogurt sauce:
Combine the yogurt, garlic lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill until ready to use.
For the marinade:
Combine the yogurt, garlic, olive oil, spice blend, lemon juice and zest in a re-sealable plastic bag. Add chicken and be sure it is completely covered by marinade. Lay flat in refrigerator for 30 minutes, up to 2 hours.
To cook and serve:
Remove chicken from marinade and evenly divide chicken between the skewers, thread approximately 4-6 pieces of chicken per skewer.
Oil grill or pan and heat over medium-high heat (pan should be large enough for skewers to lay flat). Place the skewers on heated the grill or pan and cook for 10-12 minutes until cooked through, turning occasionally.
Lightly heat pita on pan or grill and transfer to serving dish. Place pita on plate, lay two skewers on the pita, garnish with yogurt sauce and a sprinkle of fresh mint. Serve with lemon wedges and additional yogurt sauce.