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Chicken Skewers With Zathar (Thyme and Sesame Marinate)

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This recipe comes from Barbecue, delicious recipes for outdoor cooking by Louise Pickford. I'm often want to use thyme as I adore the smell. I thought this amount of thyme will make the recipe pungent but it actually taste yummy marinated with the chicken then barbecued and the flavour is strong but not overpowering. Time does not include Marinating time
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
750 g chicken breast fillets, chopped into bite size pieces
8 wooden skewers
Zathar spice mix (use 3 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
15 g fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
To Serve
chili oil (optional) or chili powder, with olive oil (optional)
1-2 lemon, cut into wedges (optional)
mixed salad greens (optional)
pita bread (optional)



1. Soak 8 wooden skewers in cold water for 30 minutes.
2. To make the zahtar spice mix, put the sesame seeds into a dry frying pan and toast over medium heat until golden and aromatic. Remove, let cool then transfer to a spice grinder (or clean coffee grinder). Add the thyme and slat and then blend to a coarse powder. Alternatively, use a mortar and pestle. You will need 3 tablespoons for this recipe (put the remainder into an airtight container and keep in a cool place for future use).
3. Put the 3 tablespoons of zahtar spice mix and olive oil into a shallow dish and mix well. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, add to the Zahtar oil and toss well until coated. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
4. Preheat the barbecue, then thread the chicken pieces onto the soaked wooden skewers and cook over hot coal for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove from heat, let rest briefly, sprinkle with chilli oil and lemon juice and serve hot with salad or pita bread.

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