The common term in Beirut for these is tawook. Tawook can be ordered already marinated from the butcher shop or the supermarket. The first question one gets asked when ordering is “do you want it white (abyad) or red (ahmar)?, “white” referring to a yogurt-based marinade and “red” to a tomato-based marinade. I like both, but the most common one is red or tomato-based. Growing-up we had grilled chicken once a week and the marinade never included tomato, only lemon, mashed garlic and olive oil.
It is a treat to grill the chicken at home in the traditional pit called mannkal. These come in small to large sizes and their prices are modest, the small ones cost about 10,000LL (about $7). They are filled with charcoal, the coals are lit and 15 minutes later, the grilling session begins with the chicken brochettes and end with the coffee prepared on the embers.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Passive Time: 10 minutes
13/4 pound chicken, deboned, cut into chunks breasts or thigns or both
3 pieces bell peppers any color, seeded and cut into chunks
1/2 cup lemon juice fresh or bottled
3/4 cup olive oil or a mix of olive and vegetable oil
1 tbsp paprika mild or smoked
1 tbsp tomato paste optional
1 tbsp powdered oregano or thyme or marjoram
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper or white pepper, optional
6 cloves garlic, mashed or more, to taste
1. Mix all ingredients, then chicken pieces, in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. Prepare the grill by lighting the coals and waiting 15-20 minutes for the flames to subside. Aternatively, heat the oven to 375F. Skewer the chicken pieces and bell pepper pieces. Use some paper towels to dry them briefly. Grill for about 10 minutes, rotating them every few minutes when charred on one side. Serve immediately.
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