Zesty BBQ Chicken To Show Dad Some Love This Father's Day

The way to a man's heart is through his stomach and this is especially true on Father's Day. A dad may love his breakfast but I would argue that what most fathers love even more is good ol' BBQ fare. These chicken drumsticks are a play on classic Indian Tandoori Chicken with a milder spice profile so the entire family can bond over finger-lickin' good deliciousness. Serve these with a side of grilled corn, roast potatoes, a light salad or this quinoa veggie pilaf for a yummy, love-filled, belly and soul-nourishing Father's Day celebration. You can also add this recipe to your weeknight rotation. It's easy, nutritious and a taste-bud adventure for the entire family. 

Zesty BBQ Chicken
Baby led weaning, Toddler, Kid, Adult

Science Corner
When meat is cooked at high temperatures like when grilling on an open flame, the creatine, amino acids and sugars in the meat form chemical compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that cause mutations in our DNA and ultimately, at high enough doses, cancer (why does everything that's fun and delicious have a downside?! Boo). Fascinatingly, anti-oxidant rich marinades containing spices like turmeric and certain herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, mint) can substantially reduce HCA formation! This marinade combines several anti-oxidant spices for a flavour and anti-carcinogenic boost. Like I've said on many occasions, if only our conventional meds tasted this good. 

Yield
2 adult and 2 kid servings

Ingredients
6 chicken drumsticks, skin removed
1/4 cup plain, full-fat Greek yoghurt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cloves garlic crushed
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon plus a large pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (skip for kids)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Melted butter or coconut oil for brushing
1 lime
Chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

Method
Using a sharp knife, score the skinless chicken drumsticks (i.e. make slits in the meat) and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the yoghurt, tomato paste, garlic, ginger salt, pepper and spices. Add the chicken and coat well with the marinade making sure it gets into the slits for more moisture and flavour. Refrigerate for 1-6 hours. 

30 minutes before BBQing or oven roasting, remove the meat from the fridge. If using the oven instead of the BBQ, pre-heat it to 200 C / 400 F.

If BBQing, cook the chicken on a pre-heated grill until done, about 35 minutes, flipping every 5 minutes to ensure even cooking (and to reduce HCA formation, discussed above). Brush with melted butter or oil to prevent it from drying.

Alternatively, roast the chicken in the pre-heated oven for 35 minutes turning every 10 minutes to ensure even cooking. Broil on high for 5 minutes, brushing with melted butter or oil to get a crisper finish. 

Let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle with lime juice, garnish with cilantro and serve. 

Complete your spiced BBQ feast with these delicious, nutritious sides and desserts.

White Pepper Corn & Tomato Salad

White Pepper Corn & Tomato Salad

Quinoa Veg Pilaf

Quinoa Veg Pilaf

Cardamom Mango Lassi Popsicles

Cardamom Mango Lassi Popsicles

Garlicky Guacamole

Garlicky Guacamole

Avocado Tomato Edamame Salad

Avocado Tomato Edamame Salad

Grandpa Ish's Peach Melba

Grandpa Ish's Peach Melba

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grind your own spices (in 3 minutes!)

People ask me if it's worth grinding their own spices and the short and sweet answer is absolutely yes!

Spices contain aromatic, volatile oils where most of the magic lies. For example, cuminaldehyde in cumin aids digestion and if you've heard that cinnamon is anti-inflammatory, that's because of its volatile oil cinnamaldehyde, among others. 

Protected within the whole spice, these aromatic oils are stable for 1-2 years but once ground into powder, they begin to lose their potency. After 6-8 months, pre-ground spices are a little more than mildly fragrant powdered dust. OK that's harsh. But In all honesty, how long do you think that powdered spice was sitting on the grocery store shelf before it found a place in your pantry? By that point, you're unfortunately missing out on a lot of the magic. 

The good news is that grinding whole spices is fast, easy and an aromatic experience you won't forget and might even become obsessed with. The first time I ground my own cinnamon, I literally couldn't move, I was so stunned and knocked off my feet by the gorgeous, eye-popping aroma and flavor that I'm still kicking myself for buying it pre-ground for decades (yes I can be lazy too). There is ZERO COMPARISON between the fresh and pre-ground versions and I would audaciously venture to say this is true for almost any spice. 

That said, I'm not dedicated enough to grind every single spice myself. For the slightly more involved ones like turmeric and paprika, I buy them pre-ground but always from reliable / ethnic grocery stores where I know there is reasonable turnover and the spice hasn't been languishing on the shelf for years. In a pinch, I do buy pre-ground versions of other spices too but the more I grind my own, the harder it is to go that route. It really is life-changing. 

To grind spices, you basically need 2, maybe 3 things. 

1) A pan to dry roast the whole spice and activate the aromatic oils. A non-stick or cast iron pan work nicely for this. 
2) Grinding equipment. A mortar and pestle are old school and handy, especially for smaller batches.
3) For larger batches and spices where elbow grease doesn't cut it (cinnamon is an example), a dedicated spice grinder can be nice to have. A cheap coffee grinder (15-20 bucks US) works great but I don't recommend you grind your coffee in it too, unless you're looking for a certain kind of brew (coriander coffee?) 

So that's pretty much it! Dry roast the whole spice on medium to medium low flame for 1-2 minutes, shaking every now and then, until aromatic but not brown / burnt. Grind in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, particularly for a big batch, about a minute. 3 minutes total, you're done. Grind uncooked rice to clean your grinder before moving onto the next spice to prevent aromas and flavors from mixing. Store your freshly ground spices in air-tight containers away from heat and light for 6-8 months. If using often, a spicebox which isn't air tight is fine too. If you don't believe me, watch our video below! Even if you believe me, watch the video. It's fun and funny. 

And watch your food and health transform before your eyes (and noses). 

Freshly ground spices make for a heart-warming and lovely gift for the host or hostess at your next dinner party invitation too. Next week, we'll share why and how to get your kids involved in the grinding of spices - teaser alert in this week's video!

Until then,

With Love & (Freshly Ground) Spice

NOTE: For cardamom, it's best to dry roast the entire pod and then smash it open in the mortar to release the black seeds for grinding. You can then discard the pods. Stay tuned for how toddlers can get obsessed with this next week! 

Some of our favorite recipes with freshly ground spices:

Spiced Coconut Chia Seed Pudding
Non-Fishy Fish Cakes
Moroccan Lentil Soup
Goan Fish Curry
Cardamom Chocolate Popsicles