Moroccan Chicken Kabobs with Harissa Sauce

Moroccan Chicken Kabobs with Harissa Sauce

My husband inspired me to create the recipe for the Moroccan chicken kabobs with harissa sauce. Recently he visited a Mediterranean restaurant where he tried chicken served with harissa sauce. He liked it so much that I went to the store to buy harissa and started experimenting with it. I made this delicious yogurt, harissa sauce with a slight hint of lemon and my husband loved it. I have to tell you that this sauce is seriously addictive. It tastes spicy but it also has a cooling effect because of the yogurt. The lemon peel makes it taste so fresh and it helps with the spiciness. I also marinated some chicken which I cooked on the grill. The sauce I made went perfectly with that chicken. I’m telling you, this is definitely a recipe worth trying.

What is Harissa?

Harissa is North African red chili paste. It is usually used in a lot of stews, soups and sauces. It contains spicy peppers, garlic, oil and some herbs. The flavor is very complex. It is spicy, sweet, smoky and slightly tangy. The level of spiciness depends on the type of peppers that are used to prepare the paste. I bought my harissa from Trader Joe’s and it is very spicy.

Moroccan Chicken Kabobs with Harissa Sauce

Why should you make this recipe?

If you are sick of bland tasting chicken, you should make this recipe. The Moroccan chicken kabobs with harissa sauce are so flavorful. If you serve them to kids, you should put the sauce on the side because it might be too spicy for them.

If you don’t serve the kabobs on pita bread, they are low carb, grain and gluten free. They are suitable for diabetics and people with gluten intolerance.

This recipe is not hard to make. You need a little patience until the chicken is marinating, but other than that it will take about 20-30 minutes of work.

Moroccan Chicken Kabobs with Harissa Sauce

Helpful tips

Keep marinated chicken in the fridge. Never marinate meat out on the counter! I prefer marinating meat overnight, but an hour is enough for this recipe.

If you use wooden skewers soak them in water first. 

Make sure that the chicken is no longer pink when you serve and consume it. Cook until the internal temperature reached 165F.

Oven cooking directions:

Preheat the oven to 400F. Place kabobs on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Bake for 5 minutes then flip and bake for 5 more minutes.

Moroccan Chicken Kabobs with Harissa Sauce

Prep Time24 minutes
Cook Time6 minutes
Marinating1 hour
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: African
Keyword: gluten free, harissa, low carb, moroccan, thighs
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

For the harissa sauce

  • 1 cup Plain or Greek yogurt whole
  • 1 Tbsp Harissa
  • the zest from one lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the chicken marinade

  • a small pinch of saffron
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs

Toppings and sides: Romaine lettuce, pita bread, cherry tomatoes, red onion, sliced cucumbers and olives

Instructions

  • First make the sauce stir together a cup of yogurt with a tablespoon of harissa and the zest of one lemon. Add salt and pepper to taste and put in the fridge.
    Moroccan Chicken Kabobs with Harissa Sauce
  • Add a pinch of saffron in a ¼ cup of water and set aside.
    Moroccan Chicken Kabobs with Harissa Sauce
  • In a glass storage container add all the spices for the marinade (turmeric, garlic powder, salt, cumin, paprika) and stir them well. Then squeeze in the juice of the lemon you just zested add the olive oil and add only the water by draining the saffron strands. Stir well until it is very well combined.
    Moroccan Chicken Kabobs with Harissa Sauce
  • Cut the chicken thighs to bite size pieces (about an inch) and add them to the marinade. Stir to coat the chicken well. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and marinade for an hour or over night in the fridge.
    Moroccan Chicken Kabobs with Harissa Sauce
  • Preheat a grill or a grill pan to high and thread the chicken though the skewers.
    Moroccan Chicken Kabobs with Harissa Sauce
  • Cook the kabobs for 3-4 minutes per side or until chicken is cooked through. Add more salt if needed.
    Moroccan Chicken Kabobs with Harissa Sauce
  • Serve the kabobs drizzled with the sauce, on a pita bread (optional), with chopped lettuce, cherry tomatoes, red onion, sliced cucumbers and olives.

Notes

The container I used to marinate the chicken was 9×6 inches.
Read the blog post for oven cooking directions.
 
Moroccan Chicken Kabobs with Harissa Sauce

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