One of my favorite things about the summer is GRILLING! Who doesn’t love grilled food? It’s easy, simple, healthy, always delicious & clean up is a snap. Whether your vegan, vegetarian, non-vegetarian or anything in between – grilled food works for everyone! Now the best part about living in the South (US) is that I can grill/barbeque almost all year round. But if you enjoy only a few months of sunshine a year, make the most of it & start grilling today!
I absolutely just love the combination of flavors & tastes in this dish; they really do embody the whole spirit of summer. This Maharashtrian style recipe combines traditional ingredients like coconut, peanuts, aromatics & spices in a non-traditional way. This dish is just perfect for entertaining too, since it can be marinated well in advance & grilled up just before eating.
Now personally, I like using boneless/skinless chicken thighs & chicken legs for this particular recipe but it really doesn’t matter – use your favorite chicken pieces. You can also use chicken pieces & skewer them kebab style ☺. This recipe can also be baked in the oven if you do not have a grill or would just love a taste of summer in the cold seasons.
GRILLED COCONUTTY & PEANUTTY CHICKEN
1 lb chicken pieces (I used boneless/skinless chicken thighs & legs)
½ cup natural peanut butter (I used the smooth variety)
1-½ cups coconut milk
1 tbsp sambal olek (chili sauce), to taste
2-3 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1” piece of ginger, peeled & finely minced
2-3 small green Thai chilies, finely minced (to taste)
¼ tsp turmeric (haldi)
¼ tsp red chili pepper, to taste
½ tsp smoked Spanish paprika
½ tsp kala masala (or garam masala)
1 tsp ground cumin powder
1 tsp ground coriander powder
salt & pepper, to taste
pinch of ground allspice
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of brown sugar
1 lemon or lime (for garnish also)
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
Rinse the chicken & pat it dry. Then score the chicken pieces by making shallow cuts using a sharp knife or simply pricking it with a fork several times. Set aside until needed.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the peanut butter with the coconut milk until smooth & well combined. Then add the sambal olek along with the garlic, ginger & green chilies. Now add in spices (turmeric, red chili powder, paprika, kala masala, ground cumin powder, ground coriander powder, salt, pepper, ground allspice, nutmeg & brown sugar. Mix well to combine & add the chicken pieces, making sure they are all evenly coated with the marinade. Now cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours, overnight is best – the longer, the better!
When you are ready to grill, remove the chicken pieces (shaking off any excess marinade) & grill on both sides until fully cooked through, golden brown & delicious. If you have any leftover marinade, you can use it for basting & then discard the rest. When the chicken is done, let it rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
In the mean time, cut the lemon or lime in half. Squeeze half over the chicken pieces & cut the other half into wedges for garnish. Liberally sprinkle the chicken pieces with the chopped cilantro leaves & serve as part of any delicious meal.
Feel free to add a little Kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) to the marinade for a wonderful taste. You could also add some finely minced fresh curry leaves to the marinade as well.