I first enjoyed Tawook, Lebanese Garlic Lemon Chicken, at a restaurant in Dubai. Considered a street food in Lebanon, the restaurant served the chicken on a large platter set in the middle of the table. The aroma of the garlic and lemon was incredible.
This version incorporates garlic but on a lesser scale than usual and increases the lemon juice. Using red wine vinegar in the marinade rather than apple cider provides a balance to the lemon flavors.
To flash grill this on top of the stove, requires either a heavy grill pan or a cast iron skillet. Both withstand the high heat needed to flash grill the chicken. Placing the chicken in a covered pan and in a warm oven allows the steam from the meat to further tenderize the chicken.
Traditionally served wrapped in a pita with Toum, a Lebanese Garlic Sauce, here it is served atop Dewra Falafel Waffles with a drizzle of Creamy Toum and Spicy Tahini Sauce. Serve additional sauces on the side to allow your guests to determine how high to raise their “garlic meter”.
A great mix of music from mainly lesser known artists who reflect the meal – a bit spicy but at a mostly low key pace.
2# skinless boneless chicken thighs, cubed
1 t salt
1 ½ t fresh ground pepper
½ t paprika
1 c fresh lemon juice
1 ½ t fresh ginger, grate
1 T fresh thyme, finely chopped
10 cloves garlic, minced
6 T Greek yogurt
6 T roasted garlic olive oil (if using regular olive oil add an additional garlic clove)
2 T red wine vinegar
1 T tomato paste
1 T lemon zest
Place chicken in a bowl. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and paprika. Mix to evenly distribute. Place chicken in a re-sealable plastic bag and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, ginger, thyme, garlic, yogurt, olive oil, vinegar and tomato paste until combined. Pour mix over the chicken in the bag and stir to evenly coat. Seal bag and place in refrigerator for 5-6 hours shaking the bag to remix every 30 minutes.
Spray grill pan or heavy skillet with cooking oil. Heat pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Drain chicken well. Add chicken chunks to pan and cook for 7-8 minutes, turning often. While chicken is cooking, heat oven to 200° and place aluminum pan in oven to warm. Once chicken is cooked through, place in aluminum pan. Cover pan tightly with foil and leave in oven for 4-5 minutes.
Place two Dewra Falafel Waffle quarters on four serving plates. Evenly divide chicken on top of waffles. Drizzle with Minute Toum and Spicy Tahini Sauce
Big Cypress Lemon Bourbon Smash. A cross between a mint julep, whiskey sour and hot toddy, this drink is a great counter to a garlic infused dinner or simply to enjoy on a warm summer day. Be sure to use a quality bourbon such as Maker’s Mark or Larceny.
While a white wine would seem to be the choice with chicken, for this dinner, it needs to stand up to the garlic. Try a Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Sauvignon Black 2015. Light enough for chicken. Deep enough for garlic. While any cabernet should hold up to a garlic dish, Baldacci Cabernet Stages Leap 2009 balances structure and elegance.
Dry stouts or Irish Dry Stouts work well with garlic and spicy foods. Try Shipyard Blue Fin Stout. It is a bold flavor so for guests who prefer something a bit lighter, try Bell’s Amber Ale. While there is a sweetness, it isn’t counter intuitive to the garlic.
Sweet & Cheesy Dates
Quickly made, these cheese stuffed dates provide the perfect welcome to your guests regardless of the entree. The cheese is based on your preference but blue cheese, asiago and white cheddar provide a savoy counter to the dates sweetness.
Smoky Herbed Baba Ghanoush
The key to a phenomenal baba ghanoush is not only roasting the eggplant but also including bits of the charred flesh in the final dish to create a smoky flavor. Normally, onions are not an ingredient in ghanoush, but roasted they provide a great balance to the garlic.
Aley Layali Libnan
A simple Lebanese pudding packed with an incredible flavor. Alex Layali Libnan uses a cinnamon caramel syrup provides sweetness and most of the flavor punch but does not over whelm the softness of the pudding. Using orange blossom water provides a hint of flavor without added sweetness.
The perfect base to Tawook, Dewra Falafel Waffles provide a bit of spice to the soft flavors of Tawook.
A creamy version of the traditional Lebanese garlic sauce, Toum, this recipe provides the perfect complement to Tawook. Creamy Toum has all the intensity but is quickly made.
Fatreh Tahini Sauce combines the intensity of tahini paste with a small amount of heat to provide the perfect flavor boost.
A traditional Lebanese salad, Choueir Fatoush adds a bit of a twist with the use of red wine vinegar in the Pomegranate dressing.