Chicken Rustler Kebab
Indian Grilled Chicken
Family chores were plentiful in the Peters household, in part because of the size of the clan. Water needed to be pumped and carried, yards had to be swept, washing had to be done, food had to be collected, vegetables required tending and harvesting, and chickens needed to be fed and protected. This last duty was the bane of Lawrie’s younger years – the thought of shepherding the clucking, squawking, scratching, feathered food into the chicken coop filled him with dread. He knew the chickens had it in for him. Determined to degrade his dignity, they wouldn’t stop flapping, running and shrieking as he tried to catch them, his thick-set frame darting hither and thither. They kicked dust in his face and he was convinced they were mocking him. His black wavy hair was slicked by the sweat of his exertion as he counted them into the coop. ‘… eight, nine, ten, eleven, twel— where’s the twelfth?’ On the other side of the fence he could hear the solitary clucking cackle of the one that got away. As he squinted into the sun and smeared the sweat out of his eyes, he caught the silhouette of the strutting chicken heading off to new pastures. A cheer went up from the coop – the rest of the brood had created a diversion, giving number twelve an opportunity to perform a great escape. Horror gripped Lawrie by the buttock cheeks, as he knew for certain that they’d meet the wrath of his mother’s slipper if he lost a precious chicken. He resorted to a natural instinct – story-telling – and created a tale of impressive eloquence, involving shape-shifting chicken rustlers and his heroic efforts to foil them. Nodding patiently, my grandmother gently reached for the slipper. Tall stories didn’t entertain her.
In homage to the one that got away, here’s a recipe she narrowly escaped: Chicken Rustler Kebab.
How To Make Indian Chicken Kebabs
Serves 4 as an appetizer
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- Bunch of coriander leaves
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 4 green chillies, chopped
- 1 tbsp garlic paste
- 1 tbsp ginger paste
- 120ml plain yoghurt, fork-whisked
- 100ml single cream
- ½ tsp clove powder
- ½ tsp ground mace
- 750g chicken breast, sliced into skewer-sized chunks
- Salt and pepper
In a blender, attack the onion, coriander leaves, fennel seeds and chillies. In a bowl, combine the garlic and ginger paste, yoghurt, cream, clove and mace. Season well. Tip in the blended ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Score the chicken breast chunks and baptise them in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Thread on to metal skewers or soaked bamboo ones. Keep the marinade for further basting.
Over hot barbecue coals or under a preheated grill set to a medium heat, roast for 8–10 minutes, rotating regularly. Baste with some more of the marinade and grill for another 4 minutes or until cooked. The chicken should have a firm springiness. Spritz with the juice of a lemon just before serving.
Serve with a dipping chutney of choice and a side of Kachumber Salsa