Tavuk Sis recipe: Turkish chicken kebabs

turkish chicken skewer recipe

We haven't been there for a long time, but today we're back with a super tasty and simple classic of Turkish cuisine: Tavuk Sis!


What is tavuk sis?

Tavuk Şiş (shish) is what it means.

Tavuk = chicken.

Şiş = skewer.

So there are Turkish chicken skewers!


You can get them on every corner here in Turkey. Tavuk sis can be found on every menu, especially in barbecue restaurants, alongside minced meat skewers, lahmacun, beyran soup and bulgur. Tavuk sis is also popular in snack bars as it is really simple, cheap and delicious. Tavuk sis is served either as a portion with a side dish or in a dürüm.


Of course, we also have our favorite barbecue restaurant here, which we can even see from the window - a daily temptation! In the restaurant, the chicken skewers are grilled Turkish-style on charcoal, of course. This gives the Tavuk Sis an incomparable taste. We didn't manage to get the charcoal right, but we're still convinced by our tavuk sis recipe; it's simple (and) delicious!


How does our chicken kebab recipe work? 

Our tavuk sis recipe is very simple. All you need is chicken breast (you can also use other parts of the chicken without the bone, of course), kebab skewers and a typically simple Turkish marinade. This is the marinade that is generally used for Turkish grilled meat. It consists of:

  • Yoghurt (the base for all Turkish marinades)
  • garlic
  • paprika powder
  • Kekik (thyme/oregano)
  • Tomato paste (you can also add a little paprika paste)
  • oil
  • Salt and pepper

These are all things that you usually have at home or that you can easily get anywhere. However, our Turkish chicken skewer recipe still has a little twist: the longer the meat marinates, the tastier it becomes. We therefore recommend marinating the tavuk kebab the evening before or in the morning. This only takes 10 minutes and all you have to do in the evening is skewer the chicken pieces and throw them in the oven. Of course, our classic tavuk sis recipe is also suitable for the barbecue.


What you need to know about the Turkish Chicken Skewers recipe

Once again: our tavuk sis recipe is delicious and really easy to make. Almost nothing can go wrong and it is without question a Turkish recipe for beginners. Nevertheless, there are a few things you should bear in mind for the ultimate tavuk sis recipe.

  • use Greek or firm yogurt: The yogurt for the marinade should be as "dry" as possible.
  • Leave the chicken to marinate for a long time: Of course, this doesn't just apply to our tavuk sis recipe, but a marinade should generally be left to soak in for a long time. It tastes better.
  • Cut the chicken pieces to the same size: There is a very simple reason for this. If some pieces for the tavuk sis are very small and others are large, the tavuk sis will not cook evenly. Some pieces will be dry, while others may not be cooked through. 
  • Experimentation allowed: If you would like to try Turkish-style chicken skewers, our tavuk sis recipe is a good starting point. The marinade made from yoghurt, garlic, paprika powder, thyme and tomato puree is a classic, but you are welcome to expand on it. If you want to use the marinade for red meat, for example, you can add cumin. You can also grate an onion into the marinade or use more garlic.


This goes well with our tavuk sis recipe

Our tavuk sis recipe is a classic of Turkish cuisine, although it is not one of the classics in Turkish households. Here, tavuk sis is probably made less often and people tend to prefer stir-fries such as tavuk sote. Of course, this only applies at home.

Because when the barbecue season opens, people in Turkey marinate the tavuk sis themselves, of course. Otherwise, our tavuk sis recipe is more for ordering at home or eating in a restaurant.


And what goes well with tavuk sis?

You can enjoy tavuk sis as meat with a side dish, but it goes well with other classics of Turkish cuisine, such as

  • Rice 
  • bulgur
  • Farmer's salad or kritharaki salad
  • Ayran or garlic yoghurt
  • pickled vegetables (tursu)

And to put it in the words of all Turkish moms: "You can't eat this so dry. Eat soup with it - your intesines should be watered!"

That's why we recommend Turkish bridal soup (ezogelin corbasi) or yoghurt soup to go with it. 


If you've tried our Tavuk Sis recipe, please post it on Instagram and tag us @allestuerkei, comment here or send us an email - we'd love to hear from you!


Afiyet olsun!

Turkish chicken kebab recipe

Tavuk Sis recipe: Turkish chicken skewers

Ingredients (approx. 3 portions)

  • approx. 500 g/ 1 pound chicken breast (alternatively boneless leg)
  • 2 tbsp firm yogurt (e.g. Greek yogurt)
  • 2 cloves of garlic 
  • 1/2 tsp paprika powder
  • 1 tsp thyme (Kekik)
  • 1 tsp tomato puree 
  • 3 tbsp oil 
  • salt and pepper
  • Cherry tomatoes and peppers (possibly other vegetables to taste)
  • kebab skewers


Step 1: Cut the chicken into cubes of the same size. They should not be too small.

Step 2: Prepare the marinade. Mix the yogurt, crushed garlic, spices, tomato paste and oil together.

Step 3: Add the chicken pieces to the marinade and mix everything well. Leave everything to marinate for the tavuk sis recipe. It should be at least 2 hours.

Step 4: If you want to prepare the tavuk sis, skewer the chicken pieces alternately with pieces of bell pepper and halved cherry tomatoes. 

Step 5: Place the skewers on a baking tray and leave everything in the oven at 200 C/ 390 F for a good 30 minutes. Turn in between If the pieces are smaller, the chicken kebab may be ready earlier; keep checking in between so that the tavuk sis doesn't taste dry. 


Tip: In summer, the tavuk sis recipe is perfect for barbecuing.


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