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Chicken Iskender Recipe

When it comes to culinary delights, they say necessity is the mother of invention. Imagine tender, marinated chicken, nestled on a bed of warm pita bread, topped with rich tomato sauce and creamy yogurt. The aroma alone is enough to transport you to the bustling streets of Istanbul.

But wait, there’s a secret ingredient that takes this dish to the next level. Intrigued? Keep scrolling to uncover the key to mastering the art of Chicken Iskender.

Key Takeaways

  • Fresh, high-quality ingredients like tomatoes and tender chicken are essential for Chicken Iskender.
  • Marinate chicken in yogurt and spices for flavorful and tender results.
  • Prepare a savory tomato sauce with onions, garlic, and ripe tomatoes for the dish.
  • Serve hot with garnishes like parsley, yogurt, and warm pita bread for a delicious experience.
Chicken Iskender Recipe
Chicken Iskender Recipe

Ingredients You’ll Need

For this Chicken Iskender recipe, you’ll need a variety of fresh and flavorful ingredients to create the perfect balance of taste and texture. When it comes to cooking tips, using high-quality ingredients like juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, and tender chicken will elevate the dish to a whole new level. Opt for fresh herbs like parsley and mint to add a burst of freshness to each bite.

To add some exciting flavor variations to your Chicken Iskender, consider marinating the chicken in a blend of yogurt, lemon juice, and spices before grilling. This will infuse the meat with tangy and aromatic notes that will complement the other elements of the dish perfectly. Additionally, you can experiment with different types of cheeses like feta or mozzarella for a unique twist on the classic recipe.

Remember that the key to a successful Chicken Iskender lies in the freshness and quality of the ingredients you choose, so don’t be afraid to get creative and tailor the recipe to your taste preferences.

Prep the Chicken

To prepare the chicken for your Chicken Iskender, start by marinating thinly sliced chicken breast in a blend of yogurt, lemon juice, and spices to enhance its flavor profile before grilling. The marination process is crucial as it tenderizes the chicken while infusing it with a burst of tangy and aromatic flavors. Here are some grilling tips to ensure your chicken turns out perfectly cooked and juicy:

Grilling TipsDescription
Preheat GrillEnsure your grill is preheated to medium-high heat before placing the chicken on it.
Oil the GratesBrush the grill grates with oil to prevent the chicken from sticking during grilling.
Even ThicknessAim for an even thickness when slicing the chicken to ensure uniform cooking.
Monitor TemperatureUse a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Rest Before SlicingLet the chicken rest for a few minutes after grilling before slicing it for serving.
Chicken Iskender Recipe
Chicken Iskender Recipe

Make the Tomato Sauce

Enhance the flavor profile of your Chicken Iskender by preparing a rich and aromatic tomato sauce to complement the grilled chicken. To make the tomato sauce, start by heating a pan over medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and sauté finely chopped onions until they turn translucent. Next, add minced garlic to the pan and cook for a minute until fragrant.

Now, it’s time to add the star ingredient – ripe tomatoes. You can use fresh tomatoes that have been diced or canned crushed tomatoes for convenience. Stir in tomato paste for a concentrated flavor and richness. Season the mixture with salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.

Allow the sauce to simmer gently for about 20-30 minutes to let the flavors meld together. Once the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce has thickened slightly, use a hand blender to blend the ingredients until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Your tomato sauce is now ready to drizzle over your delicious Chicken Iskender.

Assemble the Dish

After preparing the flavorful tomato sauce for your Chicken Iskender, the next step is to skillfully assemble the dish to bring together all the delicious elements in a harmonious presentation. As you construct your Chicken Iskender plate, consider these tips for a mouthwatering outcome:

  1. Layering: Start by placing a generous portion of warm pita bread at the base of the plate to soak up the savory juices. Next, add a layer of tender grilled chicken pieces on top of the pita bread.

  2. Sauce Distribution: Spoon the rich tomato sauce evenly over the chicken and pita bread, ensuring each bite is infused with the robust flavors of the sauce.

  3. Yogurt Drizzle: Add a dollop of creamy yogurt on one side of the plate to balance the tangy tomato sauce and add a cooling element to the dish.

  4. Garnish: Finally, sprinkle chopped parsley or mint leaves over the Chicken Iskender to add a pop of freshness and color to your presentation.

For flavor variations, you can experiment with different herbs and spices in the tomato sauce or try using lamb or beef instead of chicken for a unique twist on this classic dish.

Chicken Iskender Recipe

Recipe by Heather SmithCourse: Main CourseCuisine: TurkishDifficulty: Intermediate


Prep time


Cooking time





Chicken Iskender is a classic Turkish dish featuring tender grilled chicken served over pieces of pita bread, topped with tomato sauce and yogurt, then drizzled with melted butter. It's a savory and satisfying meal that's perfect for sharing with family and friends.


  • Chicken breast

  • Garlic

  • Pita bread

  • Tomato sauce

  • Yogurt

  • Butter


  • Marinate chicken with garlic, olive oil, and spices.
  • Grill chicken until cooked through, then slice thinly.
  • Toast pita bread until slightly crispy.
  • Arrange pita bread pieces on a plate, top with sliced chicken.
  • Pour tomato sauce over the chicken and bread, followed by yogurt.
  • Drizzle melted butter over the dish and serve hot.

Serve and Enjoy

How can you elevate the dining experience of your Chicken Iskender dish? When it comes to serving and enjoying this delectable meal, there are various ways to enhance its presentation and taste. Here are some serving tips, flavor variations, beverage pairings, and plating techniques to help you create a memorable dining experience:

Serving TipsFlavor Variations
1. Serve the dish hot and fresh.1. Experiment with different marinades for the chicken, such as lemon-herb or spicy harissa.
2. Garnish with fresh parsley and a drizzle of olive oil for a pop of color and flavor.2. Add a touch of sweetness by incorporating pomegranate molasses into the tomato sauce.
3. Provide extra yogurt sauce on the side for those who enjoy a creamier texture.3. For a smoky twist, try grilling the chicken before slicing it thinly.
4. Accompany the dish with warm pita bread or rice pilaf.4. Incorporate a mix of different cheeses like feta or mozzarella for a unique taste.

When it comes to beverage pairings, consider serving a refreshing glass of mint lemonade or a crisp white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc. As for plating techniques, you can opt for a rustic presentation in a shallow bowl or go for an elegant look on a rectangular serving platter. Experiment with these suggestions to tailor your Chicken Iskender experience to your liking and impress your guests.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Substitute the Chicken With Another Protein, Such as Beef or Lamb, in This Chicken Iskender Recipe?

Yes, you can substitute the chicken in the Iskender recipe with beef as an alternative or lamb as a substitution. Both options offer a flavorful twist. Experiment with the protein of your choice for a unique dish.

Are There Any Vegetarian Alternatives for This Chicken Iskender Recipe?

If you’re seeking vegetarian twists, explore the world of vibrant flavors and creative ingredient swaps. Discover how to infuse rich taste profiles into your meals with innovative cooking techniques. Embrace the freedom to experiment!

Can I Make This Dish Ahead of Time and Reheat It Later?

You can definitely prepare this dish ahead of time and reheat it later for a quick and convenient meal. To maintain optimal flavor and texture, consider storing the components separately and assembling before serving.

How Can I Adjust the Level of Spiciness in the Tomato Sauce to Suit My Taste Preferences?

To adjust the spiciness in the tomato sauce, you can control the heat level by adding ingredients gradually. Start with a pinch of chili flakes, taste, and then go wild! Remember, a dash can go a long way.

Are There Any Traditional Side Dishes or Accompaniments That Are Typically Served With Chicken Iskender?

When enjoying Chicken Iskender, traditional accompaniments like Turkish bread and yogurt sauce perfectly complement the dish. These classic side dishes provide a medley of flavors and textures that enhance the overall dining experience.

Chicken Iskender Recipe
Chicken Iskender Recipe


In conclusion, making chicken iskender is a delicious and satisfying experience.

The tender chicken, flavorful tomato sauce, and creamy yogurt come together like a well-choreographed dance, creating a dish that’s truly unforgettable.

The balance of savory and tangy flavors is like a symphony for your taste buds, leaving you wanting more with each bite.

Try this recipe for a taste of culinary perfection that will have you coming back for seconds every time.

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