Live session with Chef Saadat
Recently, I got an opportunity to talk to Chef Saadat – a well know celebrity chef from Pakistan – in a live session on Instagram. I have grown up watching our exceptionally talented cooking experts on Masala tv and ARY Zauq. They are our real culinary heroes who have done tremendous work in promoting the Pakistani cuisine. Talking and cooking in front of the chef himself was a great experience. The takeaway from my discussion with the chef is a project that I am very excited about – paying tribute and to honor the culinary heroes of Pakistan. More on the project coming soon.
During the session, I prepared a recipe for chicken skewers using our traditional flavors and spices. Before the session, I thought a lot about how to create a different recipe yet sticking to the roots. It is summer time all around, so I decided to make skewers with a ratia (dip).
Creating Elements: Mirchi Chicken Marinade
How to make a perfect marinade for the meat? I am not in a favor of using a lot of spices and flavors in a recipe. I select one or a couple of spices and work my recipe around that. This is how I created the elements of this recipe.
- Freshly ground ginger garlic is like a must with lemon juice or vinegar.
- Use whole red chilies as the hero ingredient of my dish.
- Instead of adding crushed whole red chilies, I used two varieties of whole red chilies (button red chilies and dried Kashmiri red chilies).
- To add more dimension to the chilies, I soaked them overnight and then pounded them the next day into a paste.
- It still needed some kick so I decided to use dried kasuri methi, for its exceptional aroma and flavors. This is an ancient herb widely used in Pakistani cuisine to instantly elevated the taste of the dish.
- Yogurt and Chickpea powder added softness and tenderness to the meat and to finish off, fresh herbs are like a cherry on the top.
Sounds like a perfect combination of flavors. Thread the chicken fillets with vegetables in a skewer. You can grill, air fry, pan fry or bake. To plate the dish with a modern fine dining touch, I poured a garlicy brown butter sauce on top.
Enhancing the flavors: Garlicy Brown Butter Sauce
In order to incorporate a modern cooking technique with traditional spices and flavors, I decided to serve the skewers with a garlicy nutty butter sauce. Usually when we grill or bar b que meat, we brush it with oil or ghee. Here i thought, how about going a step further. I melted butter and cooked it until it was nutty and nicely brown and flavored it with freshly chopped garlic. It was so aromatic and served the purpose perfectly.
This is my Mirchi Chicken skewer with garlicy brown butter sauce, perfect for summer treats. I have to admit that this is the first time I made this recipe and it was a success. I served it with a kadu ratia.
Mirchi Chicken Skewer with Garlic Brown Butter Sauce
Mirchi (Chili) paste
- Whole red button chilies – 3, soaked overnight
- Dry kashmiri chilies – 3, soaked overnight
Mirchi Chicken Marinade
- Chicken breast cut into thin fillets – 1
- Chili paste – 2 tablespoon or as per your taste
- Fresh Ginger garlic paste – 1 tablespoon
- Roasted chickpea flour or gram flour – 1 tablespoon
- Hung curd or Greek yogurt – 1 tablespoon
- Salt – 3/4 teaspoon
- Lemon juice – 1 tablespoon
- Kasuri methi – 3/4 teaspoon, crushed
- Fresh corinader leaves – 1 tablespoon, chopped
- Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
Chicken Skewer Prep
- Skewers, soaked in water
- Onions – cubes
- Capsicum – cubes
- Chicken Marinated
Garlicy Brown Butter Sauce
- Garlic – 2 – 3 cloves, chopped
- Butter – 2 tablespoon
- Salt – a pinch
- Soak the chilies (whole button chilies and kashmiri red chilies ) overnight or atleast for two hours. Finely grind them into a paste using mortar and pestle.
- Cut the chicken breast into thin fillets like pasanday.
- In a bowl, mix all ingridents (roasted chick pea, ginger garlic paste, salt, chili paste, lemon juice, oil, kasuri methi, hung curd and chopped corinader leaves) together to make a marinade for the chicken.
- Let the chicken rest in the marinade for atleast 1 hour (for best results overnight)
- Thread the chicken into soaked bamboo skewers (alternatively with capcisums and onions cubes)
- Heat grill pan and spray some olive oil on top. Pan grill the chicken skewer on medium flame until nicely charred and cooked on both sides.
- Once the chicken is done, remove it from grill and set it aside. Don't over cook, it will make the chicken dry.
- In a sauce pan, add butter. Once butter is melted add chopped garlic. As butter cooks it will turn brown and so will garlic. Cook for a minute or so until the butter turns into a nicely golden brown color. Be careful with the flame, dont burn the garlic either. Season the sauce with salt.
- Pour the sauce over grilled mirchi chicken skewers right before serving.
- Always soak the bamboo skewer in water before using. This will help to thread the meat easily.
- Bake chicken skewers in the oven at 170 C for 25 mins or Air fry them at 200 C for 15 – 20 mins.