Syrian family’s shop a cultural gathering spot
Bashar Al-hendi remembers Damascus in the 1990s as having a vibrant and modern downtown, universities where there was a mixture of social classes, and a feeling of inclusiveness.Yet he and his brother, Ammar, were 20-year-olds brimming with dreams and ideas, focused on fresh starts and exploring opportunities away from the Syrian capital.
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The Al-hendis' Syrian shish taouk on charcoal
For the marinade
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
- 60 ml olive oil (¼ cup)
- juice of one lemon
- 30-45 ml plain yoghurt OR sour cream OR buttermilk
- 15 ml paprika (1 Tbsp)
- 5 ml oregano (1 tsp)
- 2.5 ml black pepper (½ tsp)
- 2.5 ml salt (½ tsp)
- 1.25 ml ginger powder (¼ tsp)
- 1.25 ml chilli powder (¼ tsp)
- 1 kg boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cubed into 5cm (2-inch) pieces (2 lbs)
To serve (optional):
- sliced onions
- chopped parsley
- Syrian hummus (hummus spiced with cumin and chilli powder or paprika)
- Tabbouleh or fattoush salad
- Mix the marinade in a bowl that’s large enough to hold the chicken. Add the chicken, turn to coat and refrigerate for 1-1½ hours.
While the chicken is marinating
- Soak wooden/bamboo skewers (if using) in water for 30 minutes.
- Heat the barbecue to medium (preferably using natural wood charcoal) or preheat your grill pan
Cooking the chicken
- When the chicken is ready, skewer the pieces. Discard any marinade that the chicken didn’t absorb.
- Grill the skewers by turning them every 5 minutes until juices run clear, about 10-15 minutes.
- When cooked, rest the skewers by placing them in an empty, warmed (but not hot), tightly lidded pot or tent them in tinfoil for about 5 to 10 minutes.