Shashlik or shashlyk (Persian: شیشلیک – Šišlik, Armenian: խորոված khorovats, Azerbaijani: şişlik or tikə kabab, Georgian: მწვადი mtsvadi, Russian: шашлы́к šašlýk, Ukrainian: шашли́к šašlýk, Polish: szaszłyk, Lithuanian: šašlykas, Turkish: şaşlık, Hebrew: שישליק šíšliq, Urdu: شاشلِک śāślik, Bengali: শাশলিক śāślik), is a name given to a dish of skewered and grilled cubes of meat popular in Eastern Europe, eastern Central Europe, the Baltics, Caucasus, Central Asia and some parts of the Middle East, including Iran, Israel, and Turkey.
Shashlik (meaning skewered meat) was originally made of lamb. Nowadays it is also made of pork or beef depending on local preferences and religious observances. The skewers are either threaded with meat only, or with alternating pieces of meat, fat, and vegetables, such as bell pepper, onion, mushroom and tomato.
The word "shish" (Azerbaijani: şiş) means skewer. The word "shishlik" is literally translated from Turkic languages as "skewerable". Even though the word "shashlyk" was borrowed from the Crimean Tatars by the Cossacks as early as the 16th century, shashlik did not reach Moscow until the late 19th century. From then on, their popularity spread rapidly; by the 1910s they were a staple in St Petersburg restaurants and by the 1920s they were already a pervasive street food all over urban Russia.
While it is not unusual to see shashlik today listed on the menu of restaurants, it is more commonly sold in the form of fast-food by street vendors who roast the skewers over wood, charcoal, or coal. It is also cooked in outdoor environments during social gatherings, similarly to barbecue in English-speaking countries.
In Iranian cuisine, meat for shashlik (as opposed to other forms of shish kebab) is usually in form of large chunks of meat, while elsewhere the form of medium-size meat cubes is maintained making it similar to brochette. The meat is marinated overnight in a high-acidity marinade like vinegar, dry wine or sour fruit/vegetable juice with the addition of onions, herbs and spices. Shashlik is usually cooked on a grill called a mangal.