Chicken Kebab

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by andy-t, Dec 2, 2014.

  1. andy-t

    andy-t

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Culinary Student
    Chicken Kebabs

    Been experimenting with different marinades to replicate the taste of the chicken meat found in kebab shops but with no luck. I have tried to use:

    -low fat yogurt
    -Malt vinegar
    -crushed garlic
    -black pepper
    -salt
    -curry powder
    -allspice (used cinnamon/cloves/nutmeg powder)
    -lemon juice

    for marinating the chicken thighs overnight. But the taste is not right at all and the meat is still too tough.

    I am thinking of using something fatty like mayonnaise (to make the meat smoother) instead of yogurt for my next attempt.

    Does anyone of you know what they actually use to marinade the chicken in the shops in the UK?

    Thanks in Advance!
     
  2. french fries

    french fries

    Messages:
    5,197
    Likes Received:
    320
    Exp:
    At home cook
    I think it would help if you could tell us which kind of kebab shops: where are you located, and are the shops owned by Indians? Greeks? Lebanese? Etc.... I'm tempted to assume Indian because you're in UK... but....?

    Without more info, and assuming Indian flavor profiles, here's what I would do: 

    - First marinade with lemon juice, S & P: only 1/2 hr. 

    - Second marinade: 

    1) Toast some cumin seeds, coriander seeds, bird eye chilis, coarse salt, whole peppercorns, fennel seeds.

    2) Pound all with fresh garlic and ginger in a mortar and pestle. 

    3) Mix with a bit of oil and a bit of yogurt. Not too much: the more yogurt/oil, the more you dilute the flavor of the spices. 

    4) Marinate overnight. 

    You can then tweak to taste . . . 
     
  3. andy-t

    andy-t

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Culinary Student
    Firstly, thank you for your reply.  The kebab I had in the UK is probably Turkish.  I have also been suggested to use brine to bath the chicken for 4 hours before actual marinating to make it more tender and juicy.

    Your method sounds interesting and I will try it this weekend!
     
  4. teamfat

    teamfat

    Messages:
    3,987
    Likes Received:
    389
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    French Fries' suggestions sound good. I'd be tempted to add a bit of fresh greenery to the second marinade, such as chopped green onion tops or oregano, perhaps cilantro if you enjoy it.

    mjb.
     
  5. andy-t

    andy-t

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Culinary Student
    Just a few questions:

    1 - How long should the second marinade be?

    2 - Can I use a blender instead of a mortar and pestle?
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2014
  6. french fries

    french fries

    Messages:
    5,197
    Likes Received:
    320
    Exp:
    At home cook
    1 - Anywhere from 3 to 24 hours, depending on the desired balance of flavor: the shorter the marinade the more you'll taste the chicken, the less you'll taste the marinade. The longer the marinade the less you'll taste the chicken, the more you'll taste the marinade. I recommend a longer marinade time while you still tweak the marinade. Once you found the ideal marinade, pull back on the marinade time (if desired) until you find the right balance. 

    2 - Yes but the result won't be the same. Try both if you can. 
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2014
  7. andy-t

    andy-t

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Culinary Student
    That sounds great!  Can't wait to try it out.  Also, I want to add that I am using frozen thighs, I guess I need to completely defrost and pat dry before marinating?
     
  8. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

    Messages:
    7,302
    Likes Received:
    540
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    I would definitely not put curry in it.  

    Try this:

    - yogurt

    - lemon juice

    - minced shallot

    - minced garlic

    - red wine vinegar

    - bay leaf

    - saffron

    - paprika

    - pepper

    - cumin and coriander

    - red chili flakes

    - olive oil

    - dried herbs such as thyme and/or oregano

    If you're using chicken thigh there is no need to brine, it should be tender after a few hours of marinating in this.  I wouldn't let it go over night, it will turn to mush.
     
  9. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

    Messages:
    7,302
    Likes Received:
    540
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    It's best if they are thawed.  And you should also cut the meat into cubes before marinating.
     
  10. andy-t

    andy-t

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Culinary Student
    Got it!  But saffron seems a tad expensive!
     
  11. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,445
    Likes Received:
    447
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Turmeric will give you the visual pop much like the saffron, but you'll lose the flavor of the saffron. Save the saffron until you've figured out the marinade and are making it for a more special occasion.
     
  12. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,740
    Likes Received:
    343
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Wet marinades have to be a bit briny.  
     
  13. andy-t

    andy-t

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Culinary Student
    Thanks for the additional advice.  I will try turmeric and use more salt in the marinade.  Another thing I thought about is to remove the skin from the thighs and render fat from it and use it in the marinade to produce stronger chicken flavor.  Think it's doable?  Or should I just leave the skin intact?
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2014
  14. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,445
    Likes Received:
    447
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Don't bother with the chicken fat in the marinade. Maybe use it to grease the grill and baste with during cooking. In the marinade, it will just congeal under refrigeration and absorb the fat soluble flavors. 
     
  15. chicagoterry

    chicagoterry

    Messages:
    963
    Likes Received:
    85
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    If they are Turkish they are probably marinated in lemon juice, olive oil, salt and a home-made spice mixture called baharat--which has many, many variations--probably one for every cook. It usually involves black pepper, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, sometimes nutmeg, sometimes ginger, sometimes dried mint, etc.  You can buy prepared baharat mixes from spice sellers or find several recipes on line. There's a pretty simple one on Epicurious that I like a lot.

    Edited to add:

    Oops! forgot to say garlic and grated onion for the Turkish-style marinade.

    If, on the other hand, the kebabs you like might be Lebanese, the marinade is probably just olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and more garlic than most people would consider prudent. The fancy Lebanese restaurant I worked in many years ago used to leave the chicken pieces in it overnight and the texture didn't suffer.

    They also grilled the kebabs over an open flame.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2014
  16. andy-t

    andy-t

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Culinary Student
    Thanks for the suggestions.  The Epicurious recipe does seem promising.  Just wondering if it's worth toasting the spices before marinating.
     
  17. teamfat

    teamfat

    Messages:
    3,987
    Likes Received:
    389
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Yes. Whole spices like cloves, coriander, cinnamon bark and such that are toasted in a dry pan until fragrant and then ground are WAY better than preground versions.

    mjb.
     
  18. andy-t

    andy-t

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Culinary Student
    I only have powdered forms.  Are they worth toasting?
     
  19. chicagoterry

    chicagoterry

    Messages:
    963
    Likes Received:
    85
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    Powdered spiced would burn pretty easily. I roast a lot of my own whole spices but with the baharat I don't think it's necessary. The only thing I've ever used in its roasted form for that it the cumin because I always have it around but if you have fresh, unroasted powdered cumin, I would just go with that.
     
  20. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

    Messages:
    7,302
    Likes Received:
    540
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    I woudln't toast pre ground spices.  Go with what you have now but buying spices like cumin, coriander, fennel etc whole has its benefits.  It's cheaper and they last longer and taste much better.