Thursday, 19 December 2013

Poldark's Spicy Grilled Chicken Breast

This week's recipe is from Robin Ellis's new book, Healthy Eating For Life: Over 100 Simple and Tasty Recipes. Robin, who is best known for his lead role in the classic BBC Poldark serial, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and has managed his condition without medication for six years by following the Mediterranean approach to cooking.

Healthy Eating for Life (£6.99, Right Way) contains such tasty recipes that you'll find it hard to believe they are so good for you. The focus is on a balanced way of eating, avoiding extremes and short-term diets, and instead making cooking an integral part of family life.

The Spicy Grilled Chicken Breast recipe below, which serves 4-6, is an extract from Healthy Eating for Life and is featured in Mumtopia by kind permission of the publisher. Over to Robin: 


This is adapted from the Indian actress and cookery writer Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe, whose spicy green beans (see page 73 of Healthy Eating For Life) would be a good accompaniment. I’ve cooked from her BBC series cookbook Indian Cookery for many years. It may be out-of-print but is worth seeking out.

In the introduction she recalls her mother telling her that Madhur’s passion for food dates back to the hour of her birth, when her grandmother wrote the sacred syllable “Om” (“I am”) on her tongue with a finger dipped in honey. She was observed smacking her lips loudly. Something we do regularly after eating from one of her recipes!

An overnight marinade in this delicious blend of familiar spices and a quick turn on a griddle makes these strips of chicken breast a handy lunch option. (You could also cook these in a hot oven – 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7 for 10–15 minutes, depending on their thickness.)



Ingredients
1 kg/2 lb free-range boneless chicken breast – skin removed, cut into 2 cm/1 inch strips

For the marinade
5 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 medium onion – roughly chopped
1 head of garlic – peeled and roughly chopped
1.5  cm/1 inch nob of ginger – peeled and roughly chopped
2 tbsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander seeds
8 cardamom pods
8 whole cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
20 black peppercorns
½ tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp salt

Method:
1.     Put the chicken strips in a bowl.
2.     Liquidise the marinade ingredients in a food processor.
3.     Add the resulting mush to the bowl. Turn it all over, making sure the chicken is well covered by the marinade. Cover the bowl and leave it in the fridge overnight.
4.     Heat a griddle to hot and cook the strips in batches. Depending on the thickness, allow them a couple of minutes a side. Cut into one to test for doneness; if it looks too pink, let it cook on a few seconds more.

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