August 06, 2007

Grilled Chicken In Two Ways..

I have been on a veg kick for some time now and I usually don't like chicken. But then I got hold of a new book and my opinion has changed. A bad works man blames his tools...I wasn't grilling it right and now I know why.

Some of you must have seen the two books that I have on my side bar for some weeks now. I have been meaning to write about them but haven't gotten around to it as yet. They are my recent acquisitions from the library but so good that I keep renewing them. I guess I have to have my own copy now.

So today I will describe the second book: Chicken on the Grill: 100 Surefire Ways to Grill Perfect Chicken Every Time by Cheryl Alters Jamison. It has a lot of ways to grill chicken, and the book is nicely broken down to the recipes for a variety of cuts.. boneless, with bone, legs and thighs and whole chicken with detailed descriptions of how to grill each way.

Every section has a a bunch of neatly photographed and detailed recipes along with a myriad other variations of the marinade. There are dry rubs, marinades, sauces, brush on sauces..even condiments to be made with burgers and sandwiches.

I tried four recipes of which three were instant hits. The third was a chicken burger which was so good but it has no photo so can't be blogged about now. The fourth was a lemony garlicky chicken which I loved but was not as appreciated by the others. But here are the other two.

Every time the chicken was made, I made some extra which came in handy over the next couple of days for my express meals. Used as is or sauteed with your choice of vegetables and spices, it makes for great options on a weeknight.

Use only sea salt, not regular salt for both recipes. Sea salt is a broad term that generally refers to unrefined salt derived directly from a living ocean or sea. It is not fully refined as much as other kinds of salt, so it still contains traces of other minerals, including iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc and iodine which gives it a very different taste. I know its expensive but it changes the flavour dramatically. My grandma only uses sea salt and has a huge earthern ware pot with sea salt which we used to dip into to eat with mangoes. I believe this gives all her food a unique flavor. Crush it coarsely with a mortar and pestle.

6 things I make with leftover chicken:
1. Shred and add to noodles or fried rice or pasta.
2. Chop and add to the quesadilla mix while sauteing.
3. Use in a grilled cheese panini.
4. Saute with peppers for a hoagie or chicken cheese steak.
5. Roll it up in a tortilla wrap with lettuce, cheese and salsa or tacos.
6. Spice it up further to make instant chicken stir fry with rotis.

The Chicken Champ's Sunny breasts:(Don't go by the quirky name..its really good)
Preparation time is 5-10 minutes, keep aside for 15 minutes while the grill heats up and grill for another 10-12 minutes.

Dry Rub:
1 1/2 tbsp Dried Dill
1 tbsp granulated garlic
1 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1 tsp granulated onion.( I didn't have this, so never added it)
1tsp Parsley flakes
2 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper

4 medium skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp cold unsalted butter (I used very little)
4 thick lemon slices
1 tsp sugar(I didn't add this either)
2 tbsp lemon juice diluted with 1 tbsp water (optional)

1. Prepare the dry rub by mixing all the ingredients together.

2. Wash, drain, and place the chicken in a plastic/zip lock bag and pound with heavy pestle or a glass all over evenly. This is to even out the thickness of the chicken.

3. Cut a thin pocket into the sides of the chicken with a sharp knife. Dunk each piece into the dry rub liberally making sure there is a thick even coating of the spices on both sides. Place small pieces of the butter in the pocket and spray the chicken lightly with oil.

4. Fire up the grill and while it heats up, let the chicken rest at room temperature.

5. When the grill is hot enough, wipe the grill with a oil soaked paper towel and place the chicken. Grill uncovered for 3 minutes, turn over and grill for another 3 minutes and then close the lid for 5 minutes. Turn once more and cook for 4 minutes. If your grill is the charcoal kind, you don't need to close the grill cover, but I feel more comfortable with the last bit of deep heat cooking. Drizzle with the extra dry rub and lemon juice and spray with oil at each turn. The chicken is ready when it looks white throughout and the surface looks nice and crusty.

Chicken Piri Piri
This is a Portugese recipe and the result is a spicy searing hot chicken with a mild interior. The name is derived from the fiery African dried red chilies used in the sauce.

Dry Rub:
3/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2-3 tbsp dried red hot chili flakes
2 plump garlic crushed
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

Preparation is similar to the above grilling. Just rub the marinade in generously and let it rest and then grill as above. If the grilling is to be done later, marinate and place in a zip lock bag in the refrigerator. This marinade migt be better with bone in pieces, but then the cooking time increases to 30 minutes to make sure it is fully cooked.

Grilling Tips From The Book:

COntrolling the temperature of the fire is the key to success. Chicken grills at a steady heat except when dealing with thighs and drumsticks. The best way to judge the heat is by holding your hand over the grate.(don't touch it though!)Count the seconds before you feel the need to pull away your hand..1-2 seconds means hot, 3-4 medium, 4-5 moderate. the perfect temp for vegetables. (My grill is a gas burner so it really is not as great as a charcoal burner but it does give good results as I know how to handle it now.)
Before grilling, always make sure the grate is clean and scrub it with a metal brush.

Then carefully coat it with a thin layer of oil using a brush or cloth.(Spraying works but make cause flareups.)
Be Prepared with all the tools and ingredients. Time the grilling as you go along.

Check for doneness by using a thermometer(it is odne when the meat has 170 degrees internally or when the juices run clear, or cut and see if the center is white.) Normally we like it well done and crispy so that takes care of doneness.

DO not put too much sauce on the chicken as it will only burn and not let the inside cook well. Make sure there is no oil drippings as they may cause flareups. Do not keep turning the chicken as it needs to sear on one side to keep it from drying up.

So good luck and hope you guys have fun grilling.


Meeta said...

Oh wow! this does look like an amazing grilled chicken. Now I am real hungry!!

Asha said...

Shaheen,that book sounds like good one.Both grilled chicken looks yum! I love the Piri Piri sauce and chicken smothered with it just yummy:)
I have two ways with Chicken on Wednesday too!:D

Cinnamon said...

Looks very yummy!!! The pics are so tempting!

Anita said...

What is sea salt called herein India? I thought what we use everyday is sea salt while the rock/mineral salt is called sendha namak...?

Sandeepa said...

Where did you get your Jasmine plant ? Mine went to paradise after I left it out in the winter. Now am searching for one.

Shall keep the grilling technique in mind when griling next, sounds really good

Mishmash ! said...

The last time I saw a mulla like that one was when i went home last year !!! lucky you! the pic itself is so refreshing !!


Sharmi said...

beautiful Jasmine plant!!

RP said...

Nice tip about sea salt.
Both the chicken recipes have funny names. hehe They look too good and I am going to search my library to see if they have that book.
I don't have a meat thermometer. I want to buy one, and don't know which kind?
And what is the mullappoo doing with the chicken?

Mallugirl said...

Meeta, I bet u have some great grilling recipes urself, have u posted any?

Asha, get the book from ur library if u can. I guess u have tried the piri piri sauce.looking forward to ur chicken.:)

Cinnamon, i kept worrying how the chicken photos will look so glad to hear that from u.

Anita, sea salt as per obtained by evaporating seawater, is used in cooking and cosmetics. Its mineral content gives it a different taste from table salt, which is pure sodium chloride, usually refined from mined rock salt (halite) or from sea salt. it looks like crystals..the difference is similar to that between sugar and crustal sugar..that u eat with saunf. hope that helps.sendha namak is unfamiliar.

Sandeepa, my jasmine is from Coppola nursery on New Durham ROad, South Plainfield NJ.touch wood. have had it for 2 yrs now. But i did keep it inside in winter every year.

Shn, Thanks.. surprised that u don't have one in ur house..isint' that a typical plant to have?

Sharmi, thanks.. i am glad its flowering well now.

RP, piri piri ara piri u use sea salt(kalle uppu)? try it fish curries too.i got 1 kg from kerala.:)
Mullapoo..its just to distract attention from the chicken for the vegetarians.

Jyothsna said...

Sea salt is kalluppu? Ok, will get that from India next time. I must read that book too, will teach me a thing or two about grilling :) The mullapoo looks great! I last saw it in Kerala, must try growing it here.

Padma said...

I must say I want those Malli/mogra flowers...and the grilling technique is really helpful. I did grill the chicken in teriyaki sauce. Love your pics!

Sig said...

ooh yum... great pics... and love the name piri piri :D... Thanks for the book recommendation... Chicken is one meat I prefer mainly Indian, I need a lot of spices and masala on it.. :) ... so all my chicken marinades are Indian or some South Asian variety... But both your grilled chicken dishes look yummy!

N said...

i want this now!!!

there is no way i can grill chicken at my small bachelor kitchen :( :(

looks absolutely delicious, Shaheen!

Anonymous said...

mullapoovu with chicken.....??????

both looks delicious tho'..
the mulla from ur garden???

Kay said...

They look very yummy... makes me drool. thanks for all the grilling tips !

Anonymous said...

I always over cook my chicken in my electric grill. Even with the thermometer :), it turns out very rubbery and hard and the marinade never seems to appeal my family. This sounds simple and good. I'll try out this marinade today/tomorrow and let you know. Thanks Shaheen.


sindhu said...


love ur site love ur recipes. i dont even know how u manage to do all this without house help in US! im in india with two babies (1.3 and 3 years old) so dont get much time to experiment but still try adn do creative stuff. am a mallu myself, and love trying all ur mal recipes... isnt that funny, me in india cooking from ur blog:)
thanks a ton!