Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Spice Up Memorial Day with Chicken Tikka Kebabs!

With Memorial Day approaching, it's time to start thinking about which savory dish you'll bring to the feast. Yes, burgers, hot dogs, and barbeque are American staples of the cookout, picnic, and BBQ, but they've been done every year and will most likely be the main dish again this year. What about the people who want to try something a little more healthful but equally satisfying? What can you offer them? 

We recommend you spice up the Memorial Day menu with Chicken Tikka Kebabs from our Indian Inspired Gluten-Free Cooking by Alamelu Vairavan and Margaret Pfeiffer. Paired with a Chickpea and Garlic Chutney, these kebabs are perfect for any outdoor occasion (kids love them too)! This mouth-watering recipe is only one of 100+ featured in the new cookbook available in stores now.

We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Chicken Tikka Kebabs

These tender pieces of chicken, marinated in a spice blend and broiled, taste great served with Chickpea and Garlic Chutney (see recipe below).

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, patted dry with paper towels

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon dry fenugreek/methi leaves (optional)
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt

8 (6-inch) wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes

1. Cut the chicken into bite-size cubes.

2. Whisk the marinade ingredients in a glass bowl. Add the cubed chicken, turning to coat. Cover and marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator, stirring several times.

3. Preheat broiler to 500°F. Line a baking sheet with foil.

4. Thread chicken cubes onto the soaked wooden skewers, leaving about 1/4-inch space between pieces to allow for even cooking.

5. Place the skewers of chicken on the baking sheet. Spray chicken lightly with oil.

6. Broil for 20 to 25 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time.

Yield: 8 kebabs
Serving size: 1 kebab

Chickpea and Garlic Chutney

This chutney can also be served as a vegetable dip or spread on gluten-free crackers.

1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 whole dried red chili pepper (more or less to taste)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder (more or less to taste)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk

1. Place chickpeas, garlic, cumin seeds, chili pepper, cayenne pepper powder, ginger, lemon juice, salt, and buttermilk in a blender or food processor; blend or process until a smooth thick consistency.

2. If the mixture is too thick, add additional buttermilk or some water, a tablespoon at a time, to thin to desired consistency.

3. Scrape into a bowl and serve. As an option, garnish with finely chopped red onion and cilantro.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Serving size: 1/4 cup

Alamelu Vairavan is the host of a popular cooking show "Healthful Flavors with Alamelu," produced by Milwaukee Public Television and syndicated across the country on PBS. She is a culinary instructor and author of two successful cookbooks, including Healthy South Indian Cooking (Hippocrene Books, 2008). Alamelu holds a degree in Health Information Management from the University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee and has worked for many years in healthcare. She resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Visit her at Curry on Wheels.

Margaret Pfeiffer, M.S., R.D., C.L.S. is a practicing cardiac nutritionist, a clinical lipid specialist and registered dietitian. She earned a B.S. in Food and Nutrition at University of Wisconsin--Stout and an M.S. from Boston University. She authored a book on heart-healthy eating, Smart 4 Your Heart (King, 2009). She resides in Brookfield, Wisconsin.