Chicken tawook, a traditional Lebanese dish, becomes juicy and tender from a simple marinade of fresh lemon juice and garlic.
If I could eat one food every single day for the rest of my life, it would be Lebanese food. People often ask how I came up with “The Lemon Bowl” and ultimately it all goes back to my Middle Eastern roots. Lemon is the star ingredient in almost every Lebanese recipe and I have been watching my mom and aunts use lemons to flavor food since I could reach the counter.
I could go on for days about my love of lemons but today I’m going to talk specifically about using lemon as a meat tenderizer. Similar to yogurt or vinegar, the acid in lemon juice helps break down the muscle fibers in meat. This is especially important when you’re working with lean cuts of meat like boneless chicken breasts.
Chicken Tawook, a native dish of Lebanon and Syria, is marinated chicken cubes that are typically grilled on skewers. Since we live in Michigan where the grill is covered in snow 75% of the year, we most commonly sauté the chicken in a pan with a little olive oil. I’ve also broiled the chicken in the oven which works well too.
Your fork is waiting.
- 20 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts - cut in cubes
- 1 juice and zest of lemon
- 2 cloves garlic grated
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- fresh parsley to serve
- Place chicken breasts cubes in a glass bowl or large resealable plastic bag.
- Add lemon juice, zest, grated garlic, salt and pepper to the chicken toss until chicken is evenly coated with marinade. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or up to overnight.
- Heat pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Add chicken to the pan along with all of the marinade. Sauté chicken, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes.
- Serve with fresh minced parsley on top.