Cooking with Spices For Dummies
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In chicken tikka, a South Asian recipe, you marinate cubes of chicken in yogurt along with spices common to curries — turmeric, cumin, and cayenne pepper. The turmeric gives these kebabs a yellow glow.


Preparation time: 25 minutes, plus 6 hours marinating

Grilling time: 10 to 12 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 medium onion

3 large cloves garlic

1 lemon

1 piece fresh ginger

1/2 cup plain yogurt

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Black pepper to taste

15 to 20 cherry tomatoes

  1. Rinse the chicken breasts under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.

  2. Trim any loose fat and cut into 1-1/4-inch cubes.

  3. Place the chicken in a large, resealable plastic bag or a medium mixing bowl.

  4. Peel and quarter the onion.

  5. Peel and crush the garlic.

  6. Juice the lemon.

  7. Peel and grate the ginger.

  8. In a blender container, combine onion, garlic, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon ginger, yogurt, vegetable oil, salt, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne, and pepper.

  9. Puree the mixture until smooth.

  10. Pour the marinade over the chicken in the bag or bowl.

  11. Toss the chicken to coat well.

  12. Seal the bag, pressing out any air, or cover the bowl.

  13. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

  14. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal or gas grill.

  15. Remove the chicken from the marinade and thread on skewers, 3 to 4 pieces to a skewer.

    If using wooden skewers, presoak them in water for 30 minutes to prevent them from burning.

  16. Place the skewers on a well-oiled grill grid.

  17. Grill the kebabs for 5 to 6 minutes per side or until done and nicely browned, turning once.

  18. Remove from the grill.

  19. Using a barbecue mitt to protect your hands from the heat, place a cherry tomato on the top of each skewer.

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