Tavuk Siş: Authentic Turkish Chicken Kebab

May 01 , 2020

Tavuk Siş: Authentic Turkish Chicken Kebab


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 4 to 5 boneless, skinless thighs)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (or milk)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Garnish: oregano, sumac, and paprika



  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. Heat a grill to medium.
  3. Blot the meat dry on paper towels.
  4. Cut the meat into bite-sized cubes about the size of large dice.
  5. Using the finest grater possible, make a pulp from the onion and garlic cloves.
  6. Pour this pulp and juice into a very fine mesh strainer, and using a wooden spoon, press out the juice into a separate bowl.
  7. Discard the onion and garlic pulp.
  8. In a glass or ceramic bowl, combine the onion/garlic juice, yogurt or milk, oil, tomato paste, black pepper, paprika, and salt.
  9. Add the cubed chicken and toss to coat.
  10. Cover the bowl and refrigerate it for at least 4 hours, or overnight for the best results.
  11. If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for a few hours so they don't ignite on the grill. 
  12. Remove the pieces from the marinade and thread them onto small metal or bamboo kebab skewers. The chunks of chicken can touch each other, but don’t put them too close together to ensure they cook through. Discard any remaining marinade.
  13. Sprinkle the kebabs with salt and put them on the grill. Grill them evenly on all sides, about 12 minutes total. You can sprinkle Turkish spices like oregano, sumac, and paprika over the hot kebabs to add extra flavor.
  14. Serve with bulgur and summer vegetable salad or rice pilaf with orzo for a starch and okra with tomato and olive oil or eggplant and vegetable ragout as your vegetable, and a bread like lavaş.
  15. Enjoy!