Nothing says summer like grilling and a cold beer. Grilling meats ranks very high up on the "manliest things to do" list. It's such an ego boosting experience to serve your partner or friends a perfectly cooked piece of sizzling meat. If you think about the amount of effort that goes into grilling you realize that it's the best possible return on time and skills investment. I'm not to say that grilling is the most simple type of cooking, but in all honesty, I strongly believe that any man is able to do it. Especially if there is cold beer involved.
In my opinion, the secret to perfectly grilled meat lies in the marinade or rub that you used. This recipe calls for an exotic North African mix of fragrant spices like cumin, cinnamon and coriander that will elevate the bland flavor of the chicken breast. Chicken breast is actually one of my least favorite meats to cook. It's bland and hard to cook. If you undercook it, you risk getting yourself and your guests sick with salmonella. If you overcook chicken breast, it gets dry and ends up tasting how I imagine a rubber shoe sole tastes.
Personally I prefer making these kabobs with boneless chicken thighs or lamb. If you decide to use lamb, you'll need to marinade it a bit longer, preferably overnight. As far as cooking is concerned, grilling lamb may take less than 15 minutes if you like it medium or rare. If you're afraid of the strong and bold gamey flavor, be assured that the fragrant spices in this recipe will neutralize it a bit.
I usually serve these kebobs with warm pita bread and a garlicky, slightly spicy yogurt sauce that contrasts well with the sweetness of the meat. Besseha!
Moroccan Chicken with Jalapeño Garlic Yogurt Dipping
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Inactive time: 2 hours
- 1 lb boneless chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes (breast or thighs or lamb)
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
- 1/2 inch ginger, crushed and finely chopped
- 3 TBS olive oil
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp chili
- 1 tsp Spanish paprika
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, optional
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- coarse sea salt, to taste
Jalapeño Garlic Yogurt Dip
- 1 garlic clove, crushed and roughly chopped
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp sunflower seed oil (or peanut, canola, or vegetable)
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 medium lime, juiced (juice of 3 key limes or 2-3 TBS fresh lime juice)
- 2 tsp sunflower seed oil (or peanut, canola, or vegetable)
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 2-3 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- Put the chicken chunks in a large ziplock bag or in a non-metalic medium sized bowl. Add lemon juice, garlic, ginger, olive oil, dried oregano, coriander, cumin, chili, Spanish paprika, smoked paprika, cinnamon, black pepper and salt. Mix them well, massaging the marinade into the meat. Put the ziplock in the refrigerator and let it rest for at least two hours.
- While the chicken is marinating, mix garlic, salt and one teaspoon oil with a pestle and mortar. Crush garlic and mix until you get a smooth garlic paste. Add mustard, lime juice and remaining oil. Mix well. Move the paste into a small bowl and mix in yogurt, jalapeño, parsley, mint and black pepper. Give it one more stir, taste and adjust seasoning. Let the sauce cool in the refrigerator while you take care of the chicken.
- Preheat grill to 450F (230C ) degrees. Prepare a few metal skewers or bamboo sticks. Remove chicken from the marinade. Discard the marinade. Thread an equal amount of chicken chunks on the skewers. Make sure you're not threading them too tightly, as they won't cook evenly and you don't want to serve uncooked chicken.
- Place skewers on a hot grill and cook for 15-20 minutes turning them every now and then. If you have a thermometer make sure the inside temperature of the chicken reaches 162-165F (72-73C) degrees.
- When done, remove the skewers from the grill, cover with aluminum foil and let them rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Sprinkle with olive oil, parsley and coarse sea salt. Serve warm with garlic jalapeño sauce.
- If using bamboo skewers, make sure you soak them in cold water for at least half an hour. That will prevent the sticks from burning while grilling the meat.