Afghani Chicken Drumsticks

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The temperature went into double digits today. Double digits people. That means no more scarves, no more knee high boots and dare I say it no more de-icer? It also means that the sun has got his/ her hat on and Summer is quickly approaching! Yes I am doing a happy dance as I type this (mad skills I know). As the weather gets slightly warmer, I enjoy taking advantage of the grill and my husband with his epic salad making abilities.  

I love recipes that involve marinating and grilling – they’re so easy to make, require minimal washing up and can be prepared in advance. What’s not to like? This Afghani chicken marination is a particular favourite of mine. The addition of ground cashews and almonds makes for a lovely, creamy base. Combined with the tartness of the lime and the heat from the chillies…can I get a MMM MMM MMMM?! 

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Hope you enjoy! As always, let me know what you think in the comments 🙂

Afghani Chicken Drumsticks
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 8 chicken drumsticks, skinless with slits cut into them
  2. 4 tbsp yoghurt
  3. 2 tsbp extra thick double cream (optional)
  4. 3" ginger, peeled
  5. 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  6. 2 green finger or birds eye chillies (optional)
  7. juice of 2 limes
  8. 5 almonds
  9. 10 cashews
  10. 2 1/4 tsp salt, or according to taste
  11. 1/2 tsp paprika
  12. 1/2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  13. 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  14. 1 tsp garam masala
  15. 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  16. 1/4 tsp ground green cardamom (optional)
  17. handful fresh coriander including stems, roughly chopped
  18. 2 tbsp oil or ghee
Instructions
  1. Line a baking tray with foil and turn your grill on the highest temperature setting
  2. Place the chicken in a bowl.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients apart from the yoghurt and cream into a processor and blitz into a paste. Empty into a bowl. Now mix in the yoghurt and cream.
  4. Pour this marinade over the chicken and mix well. If you have time, cover and refrigerate over night. If not, place in oven straight away.
  5. Cook for 10 minutes. Then turn the chicken over and cook for an additonal 10 minutes or until the chicken is white all the way through and has begun to char slightly.
  6. Turn off grill and serve with salad and tandoori naan!
Notes
  1. You can soak the almonds and cashews in a little water beforehand so it is creamier when blended in the processor.
  2. Feel free to use any cut of chicken - chicken thighs are also great for grilling!
  3. You can marinate the chicken for up to 48 hours - the longer you leave it the better.
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/

Spicy Kalonji Sweet Potato Salad

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Hello I’m back! Did you miss me? You’re more than welcome to leave a comment if you did (if you didn’t…it was a rhetorical question). Yes there has been a slight hiatus but fear not, I have returned and have so much to share with you all. What have I been doing? Well, even the word epic is not effective enough of an adjective to describe how the last 18 months have been for me….

It began when I got engaged-yay! This naturally led to a ridiculous amount of “wedding preparation” (spending hours on Pinterest followed by hours of crying after receiving extortionate wedding supplier quotes). I was told by our newly-wed friends that wedding planning is an exciting and fun time for the couple and how we should enjoy the process. My other half and I rarely have serious quarrels but I remember some major disagreements along the way…there was even a full blown argument about whether the name place cards should be heart shaped and pink or dove shaped and white. We went with something completely different in the end! A lesson for any newly weds to be out there – don’t stress over the little things because when the day comes, nothing like that even matters.The big day finally came. Yes we had the Big Fat Indian Wedding and yes it was amazing!

To top it all off, immediately after the wedding, I moved out of my family home and shifted to a completely different city. That’s right I’m living with a boy now-yack! And so that brings me back to where I am today…phew.

I’m excited to share today’s recipe. Although I do most of the cooking at home, hubby does two things in the kitchen very well. Salads and cakes. Granted, they are two extremes on the health spectrum but I eat both, so it works for me! Salads have always been more of a side dish for me but thanks to him I have discovered how tasty and satisfying they can be as a main dish. My Spicy Kalonji Sweet Potato Salad is a great dish and perfect to make as a quick and healthy lunch. Satisfying, fresh, flavoursome & full of complimenting textures  – your salads need not be boring from now on!

Spicy Kalonji Sweet Potato Salad
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 2 medium sweet potatoes
  2. 2 tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 tsp kalonji seeds
  4. 1/4 tsp salt or according to taste
  5. 1/4 tsp paprika
  6. 1/4 tsp amchur/mango powder (if you don't have this use a squeeze of lemon)
  7. 2 tbsp fresh bread crumbs (optional)
  8. 1/2 bag mixed salad leaves, washed
  9. small handful of rocket leaves
  10. 4 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped roughly
  11. 3" cucumber, diced
  12. 1 small sweet chilli pepper, diced
  13. 7-8 olives of your choice
  14. 2 tbsp crumbled feta
  15. 1 cooked beetroot, diced
  16. 1 tsp olive oil for dressing
Instructions
  1. Place the potatoes inside a plastic carrier bag and tie a knot. Pierce a hole with your finger and cook in a microwave for approximately 7 minutes. (The exact time may vary depending on your microwave and size of potatoes so cook until you can easily place a knife through them).
  2. Allow to cool then peel the skin off (you can easily peel with your fingers) and cut into bitesize chunks.
  3. Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add the kalonji seeds. You will begin to see them sizzle slightly. At this point, add the potatoes.
  4. Sprinkle on the salt, paprika, amchur and mix well. Sauté for a couple of minutes and add the bread crumbs and sauté for a further 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and place potatoes on a plate and allow to cool.
  5. In a bowl, place salad leaves, sun dried tomatoes, cucumber, chilli pepper, olives and beetroot. Drizzle over the olive oil and toss. Place the tossed salad on a plate/wide bowl and add the cooled sweet potatoes on top. Sprinkle on the crumbled feta and serve!
Notes
  1. Optional: Add a little drizzle of balsamic glaze at the very end - adds a lovely sweetness & sharpness to the salad!
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/

Spicy Fenugreek Roasted Chicken

fenugreek roast chicken

So I have been on a bit of a health kick recently. At first it started as a January detox, but I’m pleased to say that I’m not just going “through a phase” and my new found healthy ways have begun to sync with my everyday lifestyle and I feel better for it as a result (hurrah!). I have never ever dieted as my infatuation with food won’t let me. Consequently, I decided to make two simple changes-exercise regularly and eat healthily. Everyone harps on about it and it sounds simple enough right? Well, in a lot of ways it is. In terms of exercising, I essentially needed to consciously make the time go to the gym. With running my own fashion business and hosting regular Spice Club events it became easy to say that I was too busy, but the reality is, we all have the same 24 hours in the day-it’s how we utilise our time that dictates what we get out of it. And so my aim now is to get into the gym about 4 times a week and to make sure I don’t get bored (the thought of going to the gym has never made me yelp in excitement) I do a range of different exercises to spice it up-from yoga to swimming, personal training sessions and aerobic classes!

 

In regards to eating healthily, I basically make sure I eat all 3 main meals with 2 snacks in between and drink plenty of water. Lots of fruit & vegetables (smoothies have been fantastic for this), greek yoghurt (full fat baby!) and also plenty of protein (lentils, chicken and fish). Essentially, no processed rubbish. I’ve never eaten too unhealthily anyway-parting with the McCoys multipack was probably the hardest thing to do (crisps are my weakness), but that aside, I feel so much better, energetic and fitter as a result of the conscious choices I’m making when I  go out to a restaurant or cook at home. The most important thing I have done is ensure that all the food I cook, is easy to prepare and still tastes lip smackingly (is that a word?) delicious! My spice box has been a trusty companion throughout my journey so far and it helps to add question marks of excitement to what could ordinarily be a plain jane meal. And that’s what today’s recipe is all about-damned tasty healthy eating! This  spicy fenugreek roasted chicken recipe tastes like it should be a cheat meal but I assure you it’s far from it.  Check it out and let me know what you think:

Serves 2

What we need: 
2 skinless boneless chicken breasts
2 heaped tbsp greek yoghurt
2 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2″ ginger, grated
1 green chilli, finely chopped
1-2 tsp salt (according to taste)
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp paprika powder
1/2 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (available at all Asian grocery shops)
Small handful fresh coriander, chopped

How to:

  • Combine all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix well so that the chicken is coated well
  • Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (Note: If you want to cook it straight away you can do but if you allow the chicken to marinade it will taste a lot more flavourful)
  • Pre-heat oven to 220C (or the highest temperature your oven goes to). In the mean time, place each chicken breast on a lined non stick baking tray.
  • Once the oven is hot,  cook for approximately 20 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over and cook for a remaining 10-12 minutes or until the chicken is white all the way through.
  • Remove from the oven and serve with brown rice (as pictured) or basmati rice and fresh salad.