Thursday, 25 July 2013

Afghan Chicken Kebabs with Indian Style Salsa

We were back from Provence and the sun in the UK - it was a May-time miracle (UK readers will understand that up until very recently it seemed that summer had largely bypassed dear old Blighty) - was shining so we decided to have a BBQ.

I didn’t really fancy red meat: there had been quite a lot of that it felt like over the previous week so we opted for chicken and I decided to put a Southern Asian twist on proceedings with these kind of Afghan inspired kebabs (and themselves inspired by a post on The Cooking Ninja’s blog), an Indian style salsa, and, erm, potato salad.

The milk soaked cashews serve to keep the chunks of chicken moist and tender on the BBQ and the cardamom makes them headily perfumed, while the salsa gives a fresh, mildly spiced zing to proceedings. Of course in keeping with the Indian-style it would be more authentic to add cucumber to make a kachumber salad.. except that is I can’t stand the stuff.

Afghani Inspired Chicken Kebabs
serves 2

250 - 300 gms chicken breast, cut into chunks
1 heaped tsp ginger & garlic paste
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp cashew nuts
2 tbsp whole milk
1 tbsp Cheddar cheese, finely grated
8-10 cardamom pods
1 ½ tsp white peppercorns
1 tsp garam masala
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp whole milk

Mix the garlic & ginger paste with the rice wine vinegar and pour over the chicken pieces in a bowl. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the marinade.

Soak the cashews in 2 tbsp milk for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, grind the cardamom pods & peppercorns in a spice grinder until you have a powder, more or less. Discard the bits of cardamom pod that refuse to break down. Add the milk soaked cashews to the powder in the grinder and blend to a smooth paste.

Transfer the paste to a larger bowl and add the cheese, extra milk and about half of the beaten egg. Mix together loosely and add to the chicken.

Leave aside to marinate for at least an hour and while doing so, soak 4 bamboo skewers in warm water.

When you are ready to cook, preheat the BBQ and thread the chicken onto the skewers.

Cook on the BBQ for about 6 to 7 minutes on each side, basting with the remaining marinade and turning often. Make sure the meat is tender and cooked through.

Serve with the Indian style salsa (as below).

Indian-style Salsa

12 mixed colour baby plum and / or cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
4 spring onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
2-3 small sprigs mint, finely chopped
1 medium red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
¼ tsp garam masala
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp olive oil
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, toss together all the ingredients and season carefully with the salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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