This recipe for easy chicken shashlik kabobs is a healthier version of the traditional skewered and barbecued shashlik. In the Crimean Tatar language the word "Shish" meant spit and the word "Shishlik" meant something on a spit. It became the popular term in Central Asia for what the Turkish called Shish Kebab.
The traditional Shashlik, made with lamb and goat was a popular picnic food in Central Asia, the Caucasus and Russia. The Caucasus had an abundance of sheep so Mutton shashlik was the obvious choice. But in Russia, the meat of choice is usually Pork, Fish or Chicken. According to an article in www.rbth.com with such a short lived summer the masses take their picnicking and barbecuing seriously.
Marinated meat is grilled along with vegetables and accompanied with rice, flatbread and a pomegranate sauce. The russians take their Shashlik seriously and there are many competitions throughout summer for the best marinade.
Despite considerable research I haven't been able to uncover exactly how shashlik came to Pakistan. However, due to my country's proximity to Central Asia, I feel I can safely assume that it was probably via travelers between the two countries. As with all food that crosses borders, the recipe changes to adapt to local tastes.
Shashlik has evolved into two different recipes in Pakistan. One is the traditional shish kebab way, on a skewer, with vegetables. The other is in the style of a sizzler, in an Indo Chinese style gravy. My personal favorite is on a skewer, with accompanying japanese garlic fried rice and a spicy barbecue sauce.
Much as I like to grill it isn't always convenient or possible on busy weeknights. So I've come up with this recipe where I cook my chicken in my air fryer, the veggies in the oven broiler and prep my rice in the Instant Pot. All of this takes me 20 minutes total cooking time for a great and healthy weeknight family meal! You can't beat that!
This recipe will probably become a favorite of yours and although this air fryer method works really well with Barbecue season coming up you may want to grill instead! If you do decide to put your meat on skewers here are a few tips that may help you!
The Grill Method
- Make sure your grill is well preheated before you put your skewers on to start cooking.
- Cut your meat and veggies into even sizes. This helps them cook more uniformly.
- Brush your kabobs with some oil or include it in your marinade. This will keep them from becoming over dry.
- Cook them on medium heat versus high heat for more even cooking.
- Use a meat thermometer for best results. I always do!
SImilarly, you can broil your meat and veggies in the oven sheet pan style. I would recommend placing foil with a little ridge in the middle to separate the meat from the vegetables. I prefer broiling to baking as it provides high heat and a cooking style similar to the air fryer. This will result in the slightly charred effect that is desired in these kabobs. The ridge will prevent any juices from the chicken flowing into the vegetables. After about 10 minutes, remove the vegetables and turn the chicken pieces over to finish cooking. Do not overcook the chicken as the meat will be too dry.
Stove Top Grill Pan
Last of all, a stove top grill pan works great as well! The chicken is juicy and gets perfect grill marks on it. With the chicken pieces cut into cubes, it takes very little time to put this meal together whichever method you use!Easy, delicious and healthy! You can't ask for more! This will please even the more finicky eaters in your family!
Easy Chicken Shashlik Kabobs
- 2 lb chicken breast
- 1 tsp crushed ginger
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- ⅛ cup soy sauce
- ⅛ cup white distilled vinegar
- 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 2½ tsp salt
- 2½ tsp mustard powder
- 1 green bell pepper
- 8 shashito peppers
- 2 roma tomatoes
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp white distilled vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp bbq sauce
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup white distilled vinegar
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- ¼ cup water water
- Cut the Chicken breast into 1 inch square pieces.
- Mix all of the ingredients and pour over the cubes and mix well.
- Place in the fridge to marinate for 2 hours.
- After the 2 hours, Preheat your air fryer to 350 for 5 minutes and cook for 15 minutes, turning half way through.
- Cut the onion and bell peppers into 8 big chunks.
- Cut the roma tomatoes into quarters.
- Chop off the tips on the shishito peppers.
- Mix the ingredients to make the marinade for the vegetables and mix in.
- Set aside to marinate or 2 hours
- Turn the oven on to broil and cook for 10 minutes on a cookie sheet.
- Mix the cornstarch and water and make a slurry and set aside.
- Mix all the other ingredients in a saucepan, whisking as you heat it so everything blends in well.
- Once the mixture starts bubbling add the slurry and stir constantly to thicken the sauce.
- As soon as the sauce thickens take it off the stove and set aside to use later.