Chicken Kebabs | Mishkaki | Grilled on Charcoal

Chicken Kebabs | Mishkaki | Grilled on Charcoal

The sunny days are coming back in Kenya and what better way to kick start them off other than by making these chicken kebabs or mishkakis that are grilled on charcoal. This activity signifies clear skies, warm weather, relaxed moods, etc. What’s not to like?

For this recipe I went with chicken thighs, you could use breasts if that’s what you have. My preference for chicken thighs stems from the fact that they do not dry out quite as fast as breasts when grilled and they pack more flavour.

I like to keep this recipe simple, fast and very affordable. Maziwa mala (fermented milk) is available at every kiosk in your neighbourhood and it costs like Ksh. 80. You can substitute the fermented milk with unflavoured, unsweetened, yoghurt or buttermilk. Chicken thighs depending on where you get them will cost between Ksh. 500 to 800. The rest of the ingredients are things that, most probably, are in your pantry and you use on an almost daily basis.

Something else to bear in mind is that, when marinating chicken thighs it’s important to marinate one piece and ensuring it’s completely coated before adding the next one, and so forth, until all are done. Chicken thighs are not as smooth as chicken breasts and they tend to have all these crooks and crannies. On the other hand this is a feature that comes in very handy because it helps to hold more marinade ensuring maximum flavour.

I opted to alternate my kebabs with onions only as opposed to a whole multitude of vegetables. There’s just something about the onion and chicken flavours especially when they are grilled and blend together.. food fit for the gods!Chicken Kebabs | Mishkaki | Grilled on Charcoal

If you do not like any fatty bits on your chicken go ahead and trim them off completely. But, if you ask me, this is where all the flavour is. Especially when the fat melts and drips in to the charcoal resulting in all that smoke perfuming the mishkaki. Can I get a preach it sister and an AMEN!!!

I served my chicken kebabs with white boiled basmati rice, a side of steamed spinach and carrots as well as some kachumbari (also known as salsa). I also drizzled a bit of gravy over the kebabs because I felt that the whole dish was on the dry side and let me tell you, this meal went down a treat.

Now for some step by step video:

Chicken Kebabs | Mishkaki | Grilled on Charcoal
Chicken Kebabs | Mishkaki | Grilled on Charcoal
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins

Chicken kebabs | mishkaki are marinated in a blend of herbs and maziwa mala (Fermented milk / yoghurt / buttermilk), then grilled on skewers over charcoal, (infusing with a wonderful smokey flavour) until they acquire an attractive char and turn a delectable brown colour.

Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Serves: 3 people
Author: Kalyonge Agnes
For Marinade
  • 2/3 Cups Maziwa mala or fermented milk - You could substitute with buttermilk or plain unsweetened yoghurt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp Parsley flakes
  • 1/4 tsp Thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Red chilli powder
  • Rind of 1 lemon - or lime
  • 1/4 tsp Onion flakes
  • 1/8 cup Fresh lemon juice - 30 Ml
  • 1/3 cup Sunflower oil - 80 Ml or any oil of your choice
  • 1 tsp Ginger garlic paste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Sugar - you could also use honey
For Chicken Kebabs | Mishakaki
  • 6 Pieces chicken thighs - boneless and skinless
  • 1 Large onion - divided into eighths
  1. Add all the marinade ingredients in to a bowl and mix thoroughly

  2. Divide the chicken thighs in half

  3. Add the chicken piece by piece ensuring that each is full coated before adding the next.

  4. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for thirty minutes.

  5. Skewer the chicken thigh pieces alternating with onion pieces

  6. Place on charcoal grill and grill the kebabs for fifteen to twenty minutes or until the juices from the chicken run clear.

  7. Leave to rest for about ten minutes then serve with an accompaniment of your choice.

Recipe Notes
  1. You could also bake these mishkaki in an oven set at 180 C for twenty five to thirty minutes or until the juices run clear.
  2. If you do not have a grilling basket, like I do, then just go ahead and use a regular grilling wire. Just ensure that you let each side grill foe about three to four minutes before attempting to turn the kebabs over to prevent them from tearing because they will still be stuck on the grill.


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