Shish Taouk (Lebanese Chicken Skewers) with Hummus and Tabouleh

Who doesn’t love grilled chicken on a stick? A little while ago I tried the Greek version, Chicken Kalamaki, and I was sold on grilled chicken marinated with Mediterranean ingredients.  This time I wanted to explore Lebanese grilled chicken, or “Shish Taouk,” which is first marinated in a blend of yogurt, tomato paste, herbs and spices, garlic and lemon juice.  The combination sounded amazing and I figured it would go well with the Hummus and Tabouleh I had already prepared. The chicken smelled so good while it was grilling and the outside started to caramelize nicely from the tomato paste.  I used pita bread as the vehicle to serve all 3 foods (dab pita in the hummus + a scoop of tabouleh +  piece of chicken on top= heaven!)  Everything worked so well together and it was a great way to celebrate the end of summer.

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Tabouleh is a Mediterranean salad made with fresh herbs, tomatoes, lemon juice and Bulgur wheat.  It’s a traditional side dish in Lebanese cooking and it makes a perfect partner for hummus and pita.  Lebanese recipes don’t use a lot of the bulgur wheat, so I didn’t really make it in the most traditional way as I wanted a more hearty side dish.  If you want to make it more traditional, just use half of the bulgur wheat and think of it more as a garnish than as a main part of the salad.  I loved the flavor of the fresh herbs, tomatoes, garlic and lemon juice all mixed together.  It tasted great with the hummus, so I will definitely make these again sometime!

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Hummus is one of those foods that is easy to pick up at a grocery store and not really give it a second thought. That’s what I did for a long time until I decided to explore Lebanese food a little more.  Years ago, my family would get take-out from a local Lebanese deli and since then I have loved that food.  Since I had been craving Lebanese food I decided to make my own version of the deli’s menu.

Hummus is so simple; I couldn’t believe I had never made it before!  All you need is a blender or food processor, 2 cans of chickpeas, tahini, garlic and lemon juice.  Tahini is just a paste of ground sesame seeds and can be found at asian stores or whole foods.  Now that I have made hummus it would be tough to go back to store-bought!

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