Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


First, joint your chicken.

I used to have neighbours who were immigrants from India. They used to cook outside in summer, catching on pretty quickly to the local custom. The smoky aroma that came over the fence was insanely wonderful. It smelled like a Goanese street food stall.

So I tried to out-aroma them. I came up with the following.

Spicy barbecued chicken.

Grind or process: a tablespoon each of chili and coriander powder, a teaspoon each of turmeric, fenugreek leaves, peppercorns, and salt, five green cardamom pods, one piece of star anise, two cloves of garlic, one inch each of peeled ginger and cinnamon, one clove, one pinch each of asafoetida and nutmeg, and a teaspoon of sugar. Blend all the spices with about three-quarters of a cup of vinegar. You'll end up with a grainy-textured sludge.

Then fold the grainy sludge through a cup of full-fat yogurt and coat all pieces of a chicken which you have jointed and slashed. Press the mixture under the skin and into the slashes. Store chicken in the fridge in a covered dish for at least a couple of hours. Overnight is better to let it absorb the marinade.

Fire up the barbecue. I still use charcoal, which is dirty and takes longer, but the barbecued product is better. I think. When coals are ready, grease grill with butter or oil and place chicken on grill. Cooking time is dependent on grill, heat of coals, prevailing weather conditions, wind direction, and other factors. Cook each side of the chicken pieces on the hottest part of the grill and then move to a cooler part for cooking through without burning. My grill does not have a hood, so I use the lid of an old wok for extra heat retention. It helps recirculate the smoke to turbo-charge the barbecue flavour.

If you can find a spare corner on the grill, cook rice in a pot. You can cook it in the kitchen of course, but the mellow aroma of quality basmati rice slowly simmering in a pot on the barbecue adds a further dimension to the aromatic experience.

Serve the chicken on the rice with a bowl of yogurt, tomato, cucumber, white onion, and a sprinkling of cumin seeds on the side. Slices of ripe tomatoes, wedges of lemon and a sprig of coriander to garnish.

1 comment:

Melbourne Girl said...

Delicious! I've been doing something similar with spices and yogurt and it never fails. I'm going to try your spice combo though. Sounds fantastic