Easy Ground Chicken Kebab Recipe: Flavorful Middle Eastern Delight with Make-Ahead Tips

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Written By Haryana’s Restaurant

Authentic Indian Food – Classic Indian Cuisine in Terrace BC

Craving something flavorful yet light? Ground chicken kebabs offer a delicious twist on traditional kebabs, bringing together the perfect blend of spices and juicy ground chicken. These kebabs are not only easy to make but also versatile enough for any occasion, whether it’s a quick weeknight dinner or a weekend barbecue.

Originating from Middle Eastern cuisine, kebabs have become beloved worldwide for their savory taste and ease of preparation. Using ground chicken makes this recipe lighter than its beef or lamb counterparts while still delivering that satisfying grilled flavor you love. Plus, they’re great for pairing with fresh salads, warm pita bread, or even over a bed of rice.

Ingredients

Gather all necessary ingredients before you begin to ensure a smooth cooking process.

For the Kebabs

  • 1 lb ground chicken: Make sure it is fresh and free of excess moisture.
  • 1 small onion: Finely grated to blend seamlessly with the chicken.
  • 2 cloves garlic: Minced for a robust flavor.
  • 1 tsp cumin powder: Adds earthy warmth.
  • 1 tsp coriander powder: Provides citrusy notes.
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika: Gives a subtle smokiness.
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional): For a touch of heat.
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley: Chopped, for freshness and color.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil: To mix into the kebab mixture.

Additional Ingredients

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt: Thick and creamy base for your sauce.
  • 1 clove garlic: Minced very finely for subtle pungency.
  • Juice of 1 lemon: Freshly squeezed for tanginess.
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint leaves: Chopped, adding refreshing flavor.

Tools and Equipment

To prepare your ground chicken kebabs, you will need a few essential tools and equipment. Having the right tools makes the process smoother and ensures your kebabs turn out perfectly.

Mixing Bowl

Use a large mixing bowl to combine the ground chicken with spices and other ingredients. This allows enough space to mix everything thoroughly without spilling.

Chef’s Knife

A sharp chef’s knife is crucial for finely chopping herbs, garlic, or any other fresh ingredients. A good-quality knife ensures precise cuts and enhances your overall preparation experience.

Cutting Board

A sturdy cutting board provides a safe surface for chopping all your ingredients. Choose one that is easy to clean and of decent size to handle multiple items at once.

Measuring Cups and Spoons

Accurate measurements are key to perfecting the flavor balance in your kebabs. Use measuring cups for larger quantities like olive oil, and measuring spoons for spices.

Skewers

Metal or bamboo skewers are necessary for shaping the kebabs. If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling to prevent burning.

Grill or Grill Pan

For authentic grilled flavor, use an outdoor grill if available. Alternatively, a grill pan works well on the stovetop allowing you to achieve those desirable char marks indoors.

Tool Purpose
Mixing Bowl Combining ground chicken with spices
Chef’s Knife Chopping herbs and fresh ingredients
Cutting Board Providing safe surface for chopping
Measuring Cups Measuring larger quantities
Measuring Spoons Ensuring accurate spice amounts
Skewers Forming kebabs (soak bamboo ones)
Grill/Grill Pan Cooking kebabs with authentic grilled flavor

Preparation

Preparing ground chicken kebabs involves a few key steps to ensure maximum flavor and perfect texture. Follow these instructions meticulously for the best results.

Marinating the Chicken

  1. Combine Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, add 1 pound of ground chicken, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 finely chopped onion, and 3 minced garlic cloves.
  2. Add Spices: Incorporate 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of ground coriander, 1 teaspoon of paprika, and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Mix Thoroughly: Use your hands or a spoon to blend all ingredients until fully combined. Ensure the spices are evenly distributed throughout the meat.
  4. Marinate: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place it in the refrigerator for at least one hour to let the flavors meld together.

Shaping and Skewering

  1. Prepare Skewers: If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes to prevent burning during grilling.
  2. Chop Vegetables (Optional): For added flavor and texture, chop bell peppers, onions, or cherry tomatoes into bite-sized pieces if you plan to include them on your skewers alongside the chicken.
  3. Preheat Grill or Grill Pan: Preheat your grill or grill pan over medium-high heat about 5-10 minutes before cooking your kebabs.

Instructions

Follow these steps to create delicious ground chicken kebabs. Ensure you have all your ingredients and tools ready before starting.

Forming the Kebabs

  1. Prepare Your Work Surface: Lightly oil a clean surface or a large plate to prevent sticking.
  2. Shape the Mixture: Take a small handful of the marinated ground chicken mixture, about 2-3 tablespoons, and shape it around each skewer. Flatten the mixture slightly with your fingers for even cooking.
  3. Refrigerate Skewers: Place formed kebabs on an oiled plate or tray and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. This helps them firm up and hold their shape during cooking.

Cooking the Chicken Kebabs

  1. Preheat Grill: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (around 375°F).
  2. Oil the Grates: Brush grill grates with oil to prevent sticking.
  3. Grill Kebabs: Place skewers on the pre-heated grill, ensuring they are not overcrowded.
  4. Cook Evenly: Grill kebabs for 4-5 minutes per side, turning once, until fully cooked through (internal temperature should reach 165°F).
  5. Optional Oven Method: Alternatively, bake in a preheated oven at 400°F on a greased baking sheet for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through.

Serving Suggestions

Ground chicken kebabs are incredibly versatile and can be paired with a variety of side dishes and garnishes to enhance your meal.

Side Dishes

  1. Pita Bread: Serve the kebabs with warm pita bread for a traditional Middle Eastern experience.
  2. Rice Pilaf: Complement the kebabs with a flavorful rice pilaf, using basmati rice, saffron, and toasted nuts.
  3. Grilled Vegetables: Add some charred flavor by pairing your kebabs with grilled vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, or eggplant.
  4. Salad: A fresh cucumber and tomato salad dressed in lemon juice and olive oil provides a refreshing contrast to the savory kebabs.
  5. Hummus or Tzatziki: These creamy dips offer rich flavors that pair perfectly with ground chicken kebabs.

Garnishes

  1. Fresh Herbs: Sprinkle chopped cilantro or parsley over the kebabs for an aromatic touch.
  2. Lemon Wedges: Serve with lemon wedges for an optional zesty squeeze over the top before eating.
  3. Red Onion Slices: Thinly sliced red onions add a crisp texture and subtle sharpness.
  4. Sumac Powder: Dusting sumac powder enhances both color and tangy flavor on your plate.

Make-Ahead and Storage Tips

Proper planning and storage ensure you enjoy your ground chicken kebabs at their best. Here are some tips to help you make the most of this delicious dish:

Make-Ahead Preparation

  1. Marinate Ahead: You can marinate the ground chicken mixture up to 24 hours in advance. This allows the flavors to meld beautifully, resulting in more flavorful kebabs.
  2. Shape Kebabs: Form the kebabs around skewers and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 12 hours before grilling.
  3. Pre-Cook Option: If you prefer, lightly grill or pan-sear the kebabs until partially cooked, then cool completely before storing them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days.

Storing Leftovers

  1. Refrigeration: Store cooked kebabs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
  2. Freezing Kebabs:
  • Uncooked: Place shaped uncooked kebabs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid (about 1-2 hours). Transfer frozen kebabs into a freezer-safe bag or container, separating layers with parchment paper if stacking.
  • Cooked: Let cooked kebabs cool completely before freezing them individually wrapped in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then place them in a freezer-safe bag or container.

Reheating Instructions

  1. Oven Method: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place thawed or refrigerated cooked kebabs on a baking sheet and heat for 10-15 minutes until warmed through.
  2. Microwave Method: For quicker reheating, microwave thawed or refrigerated cooked kebabs on medium power for 1-2 minutes per skewer until hot.
  3. Grill/Pan Method: Reheat chilled or thawed cooked kebabs over medium heat on a grill or skillet for about 5 minutes each side until heated through.

Conclusion

Ground chicken kebabs offer a delightful twist on traditional kebabs, bringing unique flavors and a lighter option to your table. With simple marinating and grilling steps, you can easily prepare these delicious kebabs. Don’t forget the variety of serving options and make-ahead tips that ensure convenience without compromising taste. Whether you’re planning for a family dinner or a casual gathering, these ground chicken kebabs are sure to impress and satisfy everyone at the table. Enjoy the process and savor every bite!

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