Chicken Tantuni, in Turkish Tavuk Tantuni, is a renowned street food from Mersin city. When you think of this beautiful Turkish city, Tantuni often springs to mind. While Tantuni is traditionally made with sliced beef, there’s also a new and delightful chicken meat variation started to gain huge popularity in recent years.
In Turkey, Chicken Tantuni is considered a high-protein and affordable dish that you can always count on. If you are in a hurry and short of time but want to cook a delicious dish, Chicken Tantuni will be your best bet. Today, I will share with you the best Chicken Tantuni recipe that you cannot find anywhere else.
Cooking Methods of Chicken Tantuni Dish
Basically, there are two methods to make a Tantuni dish. The first one is to cook beef and/or chicken meat with tomatoes together and serve it with parsley, raw onions, and sumac all mixed in lavash bread. In this cooking technique, the main ingredients, whether it’s beef or chicken meat, meld their distinct flavors with the essence of tomatoes, resulting in a one-of-a-kind taste sensation.
The second method involves cooking the beef and/or chicken meat in its pure form, without adding any additional ingredients during cooking, and then presenting it alongside a combination of fresh parsley, raw onions, sumac, and tomatoes, all neatly encased in lavash bread.
Both ways taste good. But if you ask me, I’d go with the first method which is cooking the beef and/or chicken meat with tomatoes together.
What kind of Pan should I use to cook Chicken Tantuni?
Traditionally, Tantuni is cooked using a specialized Tantuni pan, featuring a distinctive large curved area at its center. This curved section serves as the focal point for cooking the beef and/or chicken meat. Its unique design directs heat to a specific spot, while the remaining empty space in the pan is reserved for presenting the pre-boiled chicken meat to eager customers.
When a customer places an order, the chef carefully places a portion of pre-boiled chicken meat within the curved section of the pan, allowing it to sizzle and cook to perfection, showcasing the chef’s unique cooking style. The pre-boiling of the chicken cubes is a crucial step that preserves both the flavor and tenderness of the meat over extended periods.
Pro Tip: Local Tantuni chefs typically use cottonseed oil when cooking the pre-boiled chicken cubes in the Tantuni pan. But if you want, you can substitute cottonseed oil with vegetable oil, it is totally fine.
During the cooking process, when the chefs notice the beef and/or pre-boiled chicken meat cubes absorbing the cottonseed oil, they add a splash of water to the pan. This technique helps to keep the meat’s tenderness, as the water allows it to cook through evaporation.
Which part of Chicken meat should I use?
In terms of flavor, cooking Chicken Tantuni using chicken thighs delivers a mouthwatering experience, with its tender, and rich taste. Conversely, opting for chicken breast meat may result in a slightly firmer and less flavorful outcome compared to the juicy tenderness of chicken leg meat.
The beauty of this dish lies in its versatility, allowing you to experiment with both variations and ultimately select the one that best suits your taste palate. But if you ask my opinion, I would go with chicken tights instead of chicken breast meat.
How is Chicken Tantuni served?
Chicken tantuni served with lavash bread known as dürüm. The word dürüm means wrapped in English. If you are not able to source or make lavash bread, you can use tortilla bread as a wrap. Chicken Tantuni is offered either as ‘wrapped’ or in the ‘bread’ at most restaurants.
Where to eat Chicken Tantuni?
- 1 lbs Chicken thighs (boneless, skinless) washed, drained and cube cut
- 1/2 bunch Parsley washed, drained and finely chopped
- 2 Onions – medium size diced
- 2 Tomatoes – medium size diced
- 2 Sweet green chili peppers center seeds removed and thin sliced
- 1 teaspoon Ground red chili pepper powder
- 1 teaspoon Sumac
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 4 tbsp Cotton Seed Oil
- 1/2 Glass of water
Mix parsley, onion, salt, and sumac in a bowl and set it aside.
Place the cube cut chicken thighs in a skillet and boil them with its own juice until the chicken thigh cubes' color turns to a light beige color. (Pre-boiling helps to maintain the chicken thighs flavor.)
Heat the wok at medium heat and add the 4 tablespoons of cottonseed oil.
Place the pre-boiled chicken thigh cubes into the wok and fry them for about 4 minutes. While frying them add a splash of water a few times (2 times) to protect the chicken thigh cubes' tenderness.
Add the sliced sweet green chili peppers and stir for about 3 minutes.
Add the ground red pepper and stir for about 2 minutes.
Add the diced tomatoes and stir for about 5 minutes.
Bring the heat to low and place the lavash bread on top of the dish to absorb the dish juice. And keep lavash bread on top of the dish for about 30 seconds. Let it absorb dish juice a bit.
Remove the lavash bread from the top of the dish and place on a plate.
Place the cooked chicken thigh cubes in the center of the lavash bread and distribute it evenly from top to bottom like a stripline by using a spoon.
Add the raw onions, sumac, and parsley mix on top.
Roll the lavash bread and make a wrap. (Don't forget to close the bottom of the roll. Otherwise, all ingredients fall).
Repeat the same process until all the dish in the wok finish.