Friday, February 29, 2008

bbq chicken tandoori kebabs

tonight i was supposed to be in on my own, but like most well laid plans, it came to and end very quickly, following a call from my friend M.

luckily this morning i put some chicken on to marinade, so she's coming around for bbq chicken tandoori kebabs. these are really, really delicious. the yoghurt in the marinade softens the meat but also keeps it beautiful and moist on the bbq, while the heat cooks the spices and gives a exotic smokey flavour. of course they'd be better done in a tandoor, maybe when i re do my back garden i can put one in (i already have plans for a wood fired oven).

anyway, i got this recipe from the fabulous SBS Food Safari website.

Tandoori Chicken Kebabs
for the marinade combine:
200g natural yoghurt
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated finely
1 tbsp garlic, grated finely
1 tbsp tandoori paste
½ tsp tandoori food colouring (optional)
2 tsp cumin seeds, ground
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric powder

I use this quantity of marinade for about a kilogram of chicken, obviously choose the cut that you like best. if you're worried about fat, use breasts, if you're worried about taste use thighs ;-) . the meat needs to be cut into standard sized chunks, so that they cook evenly through, and small enough that they absorb all of the flavour, as well as making good mouth sized little piece of joy. i normally marinade overnight, but today i put these on before work and i'm sure they'll be deeeeelicious. i really love these, i cook them all the time.

i bbq mine. obviously a tandoor oven is the best way, but even placing them in a very hot oven, or even on a stove-top grill would work too.

normally i serve them with aloo parantha.

Aloo Parantha
take a handfull of plain flour for each parantha (not too big a one, see how precise i am with my kitchen measurements)
a HEAPED teaspoon of yoghurt per parantha
add milk enough to form a pliable dough, kneed a couple of times.

make a filling by mixing mashed potato, finely diced red onion and chopped fresh corriander, in a ratio that makes you happy.

make a ball of dough for each prantha and using the palm of your hand push it out to form a fairly thin disk. place enough of the filling in so that you can comfortably enclose it in dough, making little buns. then roll out into disks of bread. the filling will break through the dough at this stage, this is fine as long as the dough:filling ratio is high enough that it all stays together. fry these in a really hot, well greased pan, turning a couple of times. the bread needs to cook through but the fat from the yoghurt and the milk will make them lovely golden and crispy. if i'm looking for an instant heart attack (as opposed to one a couple of years from now) i brush them with melted ghee and add them to the bbq with the kebabs.

tonight however we just ate ours wrapped up in pita bread with a little salad and a simple sauce of plain yoghurt,chopped fresh mint, salt and pepper and a little white wine vinegar.

and in this is what i love about this type of food, and cooking. there's no exact measurements, it's a 'handful' of this and 'the ratio that makes you happy'. because after all that's why we bother cooking isn't it? it's not just to have something to eat - because then we'd just have toast. or to give our bodies nutrition - because then it would be fruit and veg 24/7. it's about feeling at one with the food, and the generations of people who have cooked it before us (and for most of us women it's the women who have cooked it before us. fancy pants restaurant food is dominated by male chefs. heartwarming homecooked food is dominated by women). and it's about giving those we care about something good to eat, to make them as happy as cooking it made us.

mercy, this started as a kebab recipe but has got very sooky lala (as BBITW would say).

anyway, if you read this and cook the kebabs i'd love to know if they make you happy too

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