These luscious kebabs are an adaptation of the mishkaki from “Feast: Food of the Islamic World” by Anissa Helou, reinterpreted by Milk Street. Mishkaki are grilled skewers of marinated meat from Zanzibar, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, just off the coast of Tanzania. So transport yourself to another land while in the comfort of your own home and enjoy a laid-back feast of Ginger-Curry Grilled Chicken Kebabs.
Zanzibar’s cuisine represents a fusion of the people and cultures—Persian, Portuguese, Arabic—that once colonized or settled in the area. Chunks of chicken are marinated in an aromatic mixture of their spices including ginger, garlic, tomato paste and lemon juice before they’re skewered and grilled.
Don’t worry if the cut pieces of chicken are irregularly shaped. As long as they’re similarly sized, shape isn’t important. Don’t crowd the skewers on the grill grate. Allow some space between them so heat circulates and the chicken cooks quickly and without steaming.
While it was suggested to serve with warm naan and plain yogurt for drizzling; we paired ours in combo with another Mediterranean dish Bulgar Pilaf with Cremini Mushrooms. Suffice it to say, we fell in love with this tasty meal. And the leftovers were just as good!
Ginger-Curry Grilled Chicken Kebabs
- 2 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, plus lemon wedges to serve
- 1 Tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
- 3 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
- 1 Tbsp. curry powder
- 1 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch chunks
- 1 medium red, orange or yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 small red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- In a large bowl, stir together the oil, tomato paste, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, curry powder, turmeric, cayenne, 1¼ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper.
- Add the chicken and mix with your hands, rubbing the seasonings into the meat, until evenly coated. Marinate at room temperature for about 30 minutes while you prepare the grill or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
- Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. For a charcoal grill, ignite a large chimney of coals, let burn until lightly ashed over, then distribute evenly over the grill bed; open the bottom grill vents. For a gas grill, turn all burners to high. Heat the grill, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes, then clean and oil the grate.
- While the grill heats, thread the chicken, alternating with the pepper and onion pieces, onto 6 to 8 metal skewers. Place the skewers on the grill. Cook without disturbing until lightly charred on the bottom and the meat releases easily from the grill, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Flip the skewers and cook, turning every few minutes, until charred all over and the chicken is no longer pink when cut into, another 8 to 9 minutes.
- Transfer to a platter and serve with lemon wedges.
Recipe compliments of Milk Street