A shashlik is a type of kabob popular in various countries including India, Morocco, Turkey, Russia, Eastern Europe, Central India, and Pakistan, where you are more likely to find them as street food than in restaurants. The word ‘shashlik’ which is sometimes spelt ‘shashlyk’ means ‘skewered meat’ and although the recipe was traditionally made with lamb, chicken is a popular ingredient for them these days. A shashlik kabob can be all-meat or alternating meat and vegetables such as onion, tomatoes and bell peppers. Because this recipe is so simple, it also resembles a basic American style kabob, simply combining meat with vegetables.
Simple yet So Special
The following recipe is kept deliberately simple, so if this is your first foray into kabob-making you will discover just how simple they are. Chicken, bell pepper and onions are cut into chunks and threaded on to skewers. You can either use metal or bamboo skewers, but if you choose to use bamboo ones remember to soak them in water for 30 minutes before threading the ingredients on, else they will ignite on the barbeque. 8-inch skewers are good for this recipe, or you could use smaller ones (or snap 8-inch ones in half to get smaller ones) if you want to make smaller versions, perhaps to serve as an appetizer on top of a crunch Asian-style coleslaw.
Why No Marinade?
You will notice this recipe does not feature a marinade. Instead you will be coating the chicken and vegetables with a little oil and adding salt and black pepper. You may use a chicken marinade if you have a favorite, but consider making these plain because then you get to choose what sauce to serve with them, perhaps a creamy salad dressing or a vinaigrette. Peanut satay sauce would also be good, or even BBQ sauce. If you are making these for other people just make them plain and offer various dressings and sauces on the side so everyone can have the one they like best. If you use a marinade and someone does not like one of the ingredients in it, that might ruin their experience of the kabobs, which is why we suggest doing things this way instead. Plus you get to taste the natural flavor of the chicken and vegetables without masking it.
Shashlik kabobs make lovely barbeque food, and you get all the flavor of chicken and crunchy vegetables on a stick, which is easy to hold and also easy for barbequing since you only have to rotate the skewers, not all the individual pieces of chicken and vegetables. Anyone will find preparing shashliks or other kabobs very simple, and you can change the ingredients if you want, swapping the green bell pepper for a yellow one, adding some pineapple chunks, or even adding mushrooms. Anything goes, so get creative and see what you can come up with.
Once you have made this one time you will definitely want to make them again, since they are so simple. The recipe is easy enough to stick in your memory too. In fact just read it once and you will remember it. If you have any vegetarians in the group, you can use extra-firm tofu instead of the chicken. Just ensure the tofu shashliks do not touch the chicken ones at any point. Tofu soaks up flavor really well so let it soak in the dressing for a couple hours before assembling the kabobs. With chicken you can do this if you want, or just serve the dressing with the chicken.
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 green bell pepper
- ½ yellow onion
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Olive oil, as needed
- ½ cup of your favorite salad dressing
- 4 fresh parsley sprigs, for garnish
- Preheat the barbeque to medium-hot.
- Cut the chicken into 24 cubes.
- Cut each bell pepper into 12 cubes.
- Cut the onion into 12 chunks.
- Thread these ingredients on to 8 skewers, alternating them as you go.
- Brush with oil and season with salt and black pepper.
- Cook for 4 minutes per side or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Drizzle with the dressing and garnish with parsley.
The smoky flavor you get from barbequing food means this cooking method is good for all kinds of foods, from chicken to steak, fish, seafood, vegetables, and even sweet recipes. Shashliks are a great example of a simple dish which is really complimented by barbeque cooking. In the picture you can see the raw shashliks, how they will look before you barbeque them. You can make some with red bell pepper and others with green pepper, like you can see in the picture, or you can alternate the chicken and both colors of bell pepper if you prefer. Serve these with your favorite salad dressing or sauce to get the perfect flavor.
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