Chicken Kebabs, Middle Eastern-Style

by Jen on August 29, 2013

*This recipe is Paleo-friendly and gluten-free*

It’s been almost two months since I last posted, and there have been many things percolating from my end lately. I do have an explanation for my absence; but first, I wanted to thank everyone who stuck around while I was M.I.A in blogosphere. I appreciate it!

So…I left my job. A stable, comfortable job in the public health sector, with great medical and dental benefits and 5 weeks vacation, on-track to 6. There. That was pretty painless to say. Am I insane, you ask? Probably so! You know that crossroad poem? Yup, I was there when the road diverged in the woods, and I took a risk by choosing to walk away from my job. Darn you, Robert Frost.

You got to understand that I wasn’t happy with my career any longer. I have been suffering silently in that office for quite some time now. A few years ago, I found myself sitting in the stairwell crying. It hasn’t been good for me since.

Anyway, the joblessness unfolded at the start of summer, so I thought that I would use the remaining time to focus on taking care of my 3 kids, running long-overdue errands, updating my resume and searching for a new job / career path. I thought that I could use some time to decompress and also do some soul-searching (what do I really want to do in life at 40?).

And so the days turned into weeks and weeks into months. Before I could even take a breath and put my feet up, summer is already waving bye-bye! You wouldn’t believe how much stuff you can fill your days with when you are not at work! Blogging didn’t even play a significant role in all this, as you can see!

Not cooking and blogging seemed counterintuitive at a time when it matters most, since I find so much joy in doing both in times of stress. But I don’t know, I guess I was grieving my job loss more than I thought I would. Also, I have been doing a lot of professional and personal development, since the truth of the matter is, I’ve not been to a job interview in 10 years!

I wish I had a Xanax pill to make everything alright…oops, I retract that sentence! Come to think of it, food always makes me feel alright- not in an emotional eating sort of way, but in a creative and cathartic sort of way. (Xanax not needed at this point!)

Today’s recipe is a staple at home. Not only is it easy to make, it is also oh-so delicious. It’s a recipe that makes use of ground chicken to its fullest potential! All the beautiful spices that blend in with the meat…It’s filled with the heady tones of cardamom, cloves, cumin, and coriander; the sweet fragrance of cinnamon, fennel, nutmeg, and allspice; the spicy notes of turmeric, paprika, and pepper; the sunny fresh flavours of lemon and sumac. No wonder this is a mainstay family recipe!

5.0 from 4 reviews
Chicken Kebabs, Middle Eastern-Style
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 to 6
  • ~~ For the spice mix ~~
  • 1 teaspoon ground sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground fennel
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground sumac
  • ~~ For the kebabs ~~
  • 2 pounds (900 grams) organic ground chicken, preferably a mix of white and dark meat
  • 1 small onion, finely minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • a handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2s teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 to 5 teaspoons of kebab spice mix [above recipe totals 5 teaspoons]
  1. Combine all the ground spices.
  2. Soak wooden skewers in water to prevent them from breaking too easily when exposed to fire.
  3. In a large bowl, mix ground chicken, onion, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, and kebab spices using your hands.
  4. Cover the bowl with foil or plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour to overnight. Refrigerating the meat mixture will make it easier to shape onto a skewer without falling apart.
  5. Shape into a balls and slide just enough mixture to fill a wooden skewer. Flatten the meat mixture and form into one long piece. Repeat until all the mixture is done.
  6. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes to let the kebabs set.
  7. Prepare the grill by oiling and set on high heat. Grill the kebabs until cooked throughout, about 7 to 8 minutes per side.


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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Mom-Friday August 29, 2013 at 11:29 am

Hope your opting out is working well for you… tell me more about it!
This recipe looks like a winner to me!
I want to try this but I’m pretty sure I’ll be the only one who will enjoy the kebabs with all those aromatic spices in there.


cquek August 30, 2013 at 3:27 am

For sure this recipe will become a regular item


La Torontoise August 30, 2013 at 4:46 am

Simple, yet high impact: -)
Love this recipe!

Jennifer, I wish you much success in your personal development plan!
My husband recently took a sabbatical and yes, I can’t agree more: when you do not work you resurect all those hobby activities, finish up long-overdue projects and your life takes myriads of unexpected turns.
I hope you enjoy the process?
Again, all the best in this phase of transition!
Thinking of you.


Tessa @ Feral Kitchen August 30, 2013 at 7:12 am

It’s good to see you back. Lovely kebabs. A definite must try! I wish you the best.


Eha August 30, 2013 at 7:51 am

Lovely mix of spices to make the chicken ‘come alive’ . . .hope developing recipes will slowly lead to knowing within yourself which path to take in other ways . . .


Laura (Tutti Dolci) August 30, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Love the mix of spices in your kebabs, they look so flavorful! Nice to see you back (I tried to visit last night but the site was down for a bit). Sometimes taking a mini break is just what one needs to be inspired and rejuvenated!


MizzJ August 30, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Welcome back! I’m sorry to hear about your career road bump, but I’ve been there to and sometimes it really is a blessing in disguise in that it sounds like you’ve had a lovely summer of recharging and learning. Now onto bigger and better things!


Jen September 7, 2013 at 9:42 am

Hey J, It sure is a blessing to be able to stay at home more with the 3 kids :) Now on to my job hunt now that summer is over! LOL!


Patty August 30, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Welcome back Jen! I’m going to have to try your spiced chicken kebabs-they look delish but also thankfully very healthy ;)
I’m ready for a rejuvenating break myself ;)


CCU August 30, 2013 at 11:22 pm

Yum, these kebabs look fantastic :D
I wish I could eat chicken haha!



Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic September 1, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Dear Jen, I’m sorry to hear about your job. But as cliche as this sounds right now, everything does happen for a reason, and I can only wish you and your family the best. Good luck with the job hunt. I’m glad you’re back to your blog though, I missed reading your blog! So welcome back :) Keep cooking and take care! xo


Kiran @ September 3, 2013 at 1:18 am

Welcome back, Jen. And I’m praying everything goes well in your future endeavors. Love the spices in this recipe. Yummy kebabs :)


devoured September 4, 2013 at 7:55 am

Hi Jen! Sorry to hear about your job but hopefully it’s for the best and for a reason that this happened!! The recipe sounds great, and looking at the list of spices I have all but the nutmeg in my cupboard already, so almost good to go! Liz x


Jen September 7, 2013 at 9:41 am

Hi, Liz! Thanks for stopping by! Thanks also for trying the recipe!


Raymund September 7, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Nicely grilled, love the spices used in them.
And sorry to hear about that job loss, I know there is something better waiting for you.


suzanne Perazzini September 8, 2013 at 12:02 am

I was wondering where you had gone. I am sorry to hear about the job loss but it sounds like it is time for you to be moving on anyway. Sometimes we need a little push. The chicken looks like a delicious family meal.


Lisa {AuthenticSuburbanGourmet} September 14, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Oh my goodness – these look and sound absolutely divine! Hope you are doing well – it is nice to see you blogging again. Hope the job hunt is going well and I am sure your family loved having you home. Enjoy today!


Joanne September 18, 2013 at 3:10 pm

I made these the other week and they were simply FABULOUS. So fabulous I’m going to blog about them later today over at “mum how much longer”. Full kudos will go to you my dear as they were simply dee-lish! (Just wish my photography was even HALF as good as yours!)


Ashley - Baker by Nature September 23, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Sorry to hear of your hard times, friend! Wishing you all the best! And these kababs look amazing. xo


Nami | Just One Cookbook September 24, 2013 at 12:26 am

Hi Jen! I’m so sorry to hear that you had some rough time before/during the summer. When the time is right, something will come up! :) Hang in there. Meanwhile you know how to produce such beautiful photography and writing (I enjoy your writing a lot in this post), and keep them coming! Your Chicken Kebabs look perfect for lunch box, too!


Pamela September 29, 2013 at 11:12 am

Hi! Could you please share what recipe or type of dipping sauce you featured with these. Thank you!


Jen October 10, 2013 at 9:40 am

Sorry for the late reply, Pamela. I used Greek yogurt squeezed with a little lemon juice, added a bit of garlic roasted in olive oil, black pepper, and salt.


Lorena October 2, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Hi there!
I just made this for dinner with some tabbouleh salad and cinnamon rice with vermicelli noodles and almonds and my husband loved it…!

I made some changes though:

-Instead of chicken I used 97%lean turkey breast and 2 italian turkey sausages, to add some flavor and fat to the mix.I’m not a fan of ground chicken!
-I added a tiny little bit of madras curry,just because :)
-Hubby decided to make them in our little charcoal grill and they were absolutely fabulous! This is going to be a staple in my house.I’m from Madrid,Spain and I love mediterranean food, and I keep trying to show my gringo husband that there’s a lot to eat in the world besides mac&cheese and fries.

Thanks again for a fabulous dinner!



Liz October 5, 2013 at 8:26 am

Glad you quit. Life is much too short to be unhappy every day. You will find your way. Thanks for nice recipe.


Sandra | Sandra's Easy Cooking October 7, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Oh yes, oh so delicious! Such a comfort! I hope you will find whatcha looking for…soon! ;)


Yasmeen | Wandering Spice November 21, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Commenting quite late on this, but with a talent for cooking and photography like yours, I’d be damned if you can’t make a career out of it! It seems you love it, and you are extremely good at it. :)


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