There are times when you try out a new recipe and you know the very instant it touches your tongue you’ve got yourself a keeper; that this dish is set to become a firm family favourite, an easy regular for the weekly meal plans.
And so it was with these chicken tikka kebabs from Madhur Jaffrey’s Ultimate Curry Bible. I thought it was about time I cooked a dish to enter into my own Indian-themed Spice Trail challenge, and this felt like a good excuse to try another recipe from Jaffrey’s classic curry tome.
The whole family loved these succulent, delicately spiced kebabs, which don’t glow bright red like the chicken tikka you so often find in Indian restaurants. Perhaps it was the light yet creamy marinade or simply that the kids always make a beeline for any food served on a stick; whatever the reason they were demolished in a matter of seconds.
I served the kebabs with basmati rice, flavoured with a few cardamom pods and a couple of bay leaves, and another Jaffrey dish – a courgette and green pepper ‘sabzi’, although I substituted the pepper for green beans. This was another hit with the children. I generally expect my youngest daughter to put up a fight when it comes to spices and/or vegetables, but she tucked into the sabzi quite happily.
We also had a couple of raitas as an extra accompaniment, along with some naan bread. I’ll bring you the recipe for the raitas another day.
Chicken tikka kebabs
Serves 4 as main course or 8 as a starter
675g skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1¼ tsp salt
3 tbsp lemon juice (I used lime juice)
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic (I used 3), crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper
6 tbsp whipping cream (I used double cream)
½ tsp garam masala
3 tbsp corn or peanut oil
Place the chicken pieces in a bowl and rub in the salt and lemon (or lime) juice. Gently prod the chicken with a sharp knife and rub in the seasonings again. Leave for 20 minutes before adding the ginger, garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper, cream and garam masala. Mix it all together well, cover with cling film and pop in the fridge for 6 to 8 hours or overnight.
Preheat the grill. Thread the chicken pieces onto skewers. Madhur Jaffrey recommends the flat, sword-like ones but I went with bamboo skewers. Brush with oil and balance the skewers on the rim of a shallow baking tin.
Grill about 13cm (5in) from the heat source for around 6 minutes on each side, until lightly browned and cooked through.
Courgette & green bean sabzi
Serves 3 to 4 as a side dish
3 tbsp olive or corn oil
pinch of ground asafetida
½ tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp mustard seeds
560g courgettes, sliced into 4cm (1½cm) long fingers
200g green beans, topped and tailed (or 1 large green pepper, seeds removed and sliced, as in Madhur Jaffrey’s original recipe)
2 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 tbsp ground coriander
½ tsp salt
½ tsp chaat masala
Heat the oil in a large pan or wok over a medium heat. Add the asafetida, followed by the cumin and mustard seeds. The mustard seeds will start to pop in just a few seconds; at this point add the courgette and green beans (or sliced pepper). Stir fry for 5 minutes.
Next add the yoghurt and stir it into the vegetables until it is absorbed. Reduce the heat to low and add the ground coriander and salt. Stir again for a minute before adding the chaat masala. Give it all one final toss and serve.
I am entering this dish into September’s Spice Trail, a monthly blog challenge which I host. The theme this month is A Taste of India.