Wikipedia tells us:
Kebab…is a wide variety of meat dishes originating in Persia and later on adopted by the Middle East and Turkey, and now found worldwide. In English, kebab with no qualification generally refers more specifically to shish kebab served on the skewer or döner kebab served wrapped in bread with a salad and a dressing. In the Middle East, however, kebab includes grilled, roasted, and stewed dishes of large or small cuts of meat, or even ground meat; it may be served on plates, in sandwiches, or in bowls. The traditional meat for kebab is lamb, but depending on local tastes and taboos, it may now be beef, goat, chicken, pork; fish and seafood; or even vegetarian foods like falafel or tofu. Like other ethnic foods brought by travelers, the kebab has become part of everyday cuisine in many countries around the globe.
However you spell and/or say it — kebab, kabob, shiskabob — it is similar to, and yet different from, satay, which employs a similar cooking method but includes a sauce along with it:
Satay…or sate is a dish of marinated, skewered and grilled meats, served with a sauce. Satay may consist of diced or sliced chicken, goat, mutton, beef, pork, fish, tofu, or other meats; the more authentic version uses skewers from the midrib of the coconut palm frond, although bamboo skewers are often used. These are grilled or barbecued over a wood or charcoal fire, then served with various spicy seasonings.
I was casting about for something for supper yesterday. I had boneless, skinless chicken breast in the freezer (which I’d gotten during a sale, of course), some fresh veggies (onion, mushroom, and green bell pepper), and some delicious fat-free Greek yogurt that was needing to be put to use. Then it hit me: Tangy Chicken Shiskabobs.
I was inspired for this recipe from a Kraft Diabetic Choices recipe magazine. I replaced the light Miracle Whip (salad dressing) called for in the recipe and replaced it with delicious, creamy, fat-free Greek yogurt. The resulting marinade and sauce makes me think of the tzatziki sauce in those delicious Greek gyro sandwiches. As a matter of fact, I think the sauce would be excellent to marinate and dressing the fillings for a gyro-type sandwich in pita bread. No, it wouldn’t be authentic Greek food, but it would be yummy!
Vegetarians, please don’t feel left out — this marinade and sauce is absolutely stellar with vegetables.
While I refer to these as kabobs or chicken shiskabobs, I suppose they’re actually more accurately called a satay, as you can use the remaining marinade as a dipping sauce for the meat and veggies.
Whether it’s a kabob or a satay, you thread the food onto skewers. While you can get long-lasting, reusable metal skewers, I prefer wooden ones — they’re inexpensive, don’t take up much room to store, and when I get a hankering for kabobs of any sort, I’m not limited by the number of metal skewers I own. Also, regardless of what kind of marinade I use, it won’t have any kind of reaction with the wood.
When using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for a bit before threading the food onto them — that will help keep them from burning/breaking when you cook them. Rachael Ray always suggests keeping meat and vegetables on separate skewers to avoid the potential for any “singed” or “blackened” vegetables, but we like to have the veggies and meat alternating together on a skewer — and while, of course, you want to make sure poultry is fully and thoroughly cooked, so long as your chicken is in stir-fry sized chunks, it will cook more rapidly.
We grilled ours outdoors, but if you don’t have a grill or if the weather isn’t conducive to grilling, you can broil them in your oven or use a grill pan on the stove top — and, of course, an electric grill (such as a George Foreman) works well, as well.
The marinade/sauce is quick and easy to put together by using a salad dressing mix. If you don’t have or don’t want to use a salad dressing mix, season to taste with the herbs and flavors you want to come through — not only would Italian dressing seasonings be tasty, but so would some lemon-pepper seasoning, with perhaps a bit of garlic powder, onion powder, and then lemon juice instead of vinegar. The only limit is your imagination!
By using fat-free Greek yogurt, this marinade and dressing/dipping sauce is fat-free, so I sprayed the kabobs lightly with cooking spray before drizzling marinade on them. You could also use half water and half olive or canola oil in the marinade/dipping sauce.
However you make it, it smells yummy — and will have the tastes that YOU want!
Tangy Chicken Shiskabobs (Number of servings depends upon quantity of chicken and vegetables)
- 1 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
- 1 envelope Italian Salad Dressing Mix (or another flavor that suits you, OR season to taste with herbs and seasonings)
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water OR 1 tablespoon water AND 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
- Boneless, skinless chicken cut into bite-sized chunks
- Assorted cut-up fresh vegetables: any combination of cherry tomatoes, onion, bell pepper (green, red, yellow), zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms (leave whole) — whatever fresh vegetable — or fruit, even — is in season and sounds tasty to you
- Mix together yogurt, dressing mix, water (or water/oil), and vinegar. (Use a glass or other non-reactive container.)
- Arrange chicken and vegetables on skewers. Pour part of marinade/dressing (remember to reserve some for the cooked food!) over the kabobs. Place in ‘fridge to marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Remove kabobs from marinade and discard that marinade. Grill or broil, turning once (or twice), until chicken is cooked through (15 to 20 minutes). Serve with remaining dressing.