Sunday, June 26, 2016

Husainy Malai chicken kebabs


Soft, tender, juicy and grilled to perfection, these cheesy chicken tikka kebabs just melt in your mouth when you eat them. The first marinade of salt and lemon juice breaks down their fibre and makes them soft and succulent. The second marinade in a blend of cream cheese, hung yoghurt and light spices tones them down adding more moisture and flavour. Also using the right technique of grilling kicks them up a notch. They are at their best when enjoyed as soon as they are done, hot from the grill as their juices run out. Heating them over and over again affects their taste and texture, so it should be avoided. I have made them many times and I realized that marinating them for 24 hours really makes a lot of difference as it enhances the flavour and taste very much. 

Here's the recipe:




Ingredients:
Chicken breasts - 2 (halves from 1 whole chicken) 
Green, red, orange and yellow bell peppers - 1 each
Onion - 1
Lemon - 1
Seven spices - 1 tsp (optional)
Vegetable/olive oil - 2 tbs plus more for basting
Heavy duty tin foil - as much as you need.

1st marinade
Lemon juice - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste

2nd Marinade:
Hung yoghurt - 1/2 cup
Cream cheese - 1/4 cup
Green Cardamoms - 12
Fennel powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
Ginger garlic paste- 2 tsp
Green chillies - 2 - 4
Cilantro - 1/4 cup





Method:
1. Clean, wash and cut the chicken into cubes. Drain and towel dry them.

2. Rub the chicken cubes with salt and lemon juice, cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate for 15 minutes. Remove from marinade, and leave to drain for sometime in a colander. 

3. Prepare the second marinade by whisking together the cream cheese, hung yoghurt, ginger garlic paste, ground green chilli cilantro paste (pound it using a mortar and pestle with just a little salt), freshly ground cardamom, cumin and fennel powder (grind together the green cardamoms with cumin and  fennel seeds in a dry grinder).

4. Add the drained chicken cubes to this marinade, mix well, then spoon in the oil and mix together again. Leave this to marinate for 15- 20 hours. 

5. Brush the metal skewers with oil and set them aside. 

6. Cut the bell peppers and onions into dices. Sprinkle them with with salt, pepper and a little of the cream cheese marinade

7. Start skewering the chicken cubes alternating with bell peppers and onions. Brush them with oil and set aside.

8. Place the skewers on a foil lined cookie sheet and broil on high for 5-6 mins on each side or until just rightly done which is when they turn opaque and slightly golden. Baste them with oil before turning them over. They would become hard if you overcook them, so do not, let them be juicy and tender to melt in your mouth. 

9. Slowly slide them down from the skewers on to a fresh heavy duty tin foil and quickly wrap them up to keep them hot. Use a silicon glove or clean moist paper towels when you do this otherwise you'll end up scorching your hands. Remove them from the pointed end one by one, otherwise they will break.

10. Finally as a finishing touch, sprinkle some lemon juice and garam madala powder optional) and serve them hot with the bell peppers, onions and lemon wedges. Enjoy them with rice, naan, yoghurt mint chutney etc. I made plain rice pulao, cranberry sauce and salad for a change. These juicy and delicious tikka kebabs just melt in the mouth. So yummy, enjoy!




Tips:

1. You could grill the chicken tikka kebabs and the vegetables separately too on different skewers if you want. But grilling them together keeps the chicken pieces moist.

2. Cherry tomatoes and pineapple can be used with the kebabs for grilling.

3. Wrapping them up in tin foil as soon as they are done retains their moisture as well as keeps them hot. You could prepare them early and keep them wrapped in foil. But before serving them, place them in a hot oven for 5 - 10 mins depending on the quantity.  (The oven should have been preheated at 400 degrees and then switched off ). Do not forget and leave them in the oven for a long time as they will dry out. It is better to set a timer on.

4. Using metal skewers is convenient. But if you want to use wooden skewers, soak them in water for a couple of hrs. I put them in a 2 litre soft drinks bottle filled with water, then closed the cap. This way it is easier to soak them rather than laying them down in a dish filled with water which takes up counter space.

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