Thursday, July 25, 2013

Caribbean-Inspired Chicken BBQ

There are a couple perks to getting up at 5am to work out at the gym. Ironically, it has to do with food. The gym is the only place where I get to watch my two favorite cable channels: the Food Network and HGTV. Watching those shows are a huge treat for me. This makes it a tiny, tiny bit easier to force my butt out of bed in the early hours of the day (even after just 5 hours of sleep).

On Monday morning, I was watching Bobby Flay on the Food Network. He was doing a show on Caribbean grilling, which was an awesome coincidence. We had just purchased a new grill and I was itching to use it. I really wanted a yummy grilled chicken recipe but, because we are very low on funds right now, I had to find a recipe that utilized groceries I already had in the house. Perfectly enough, I had everything on hand to make this amazing chicken recipe-- even the very odd and unusual special ingredient: tamarind paste.

I LOVE cultural and ethnic food adventures and I love to try to make things from scratch. You will often find unusual things in my pantry. I have semolina flour left over from the times I made homemade pasta (amazing!). I have garbanzo bean flour left over from some Indian recipe I tried long ago. I have saffron. I have capers. I have mirin. Sake. All kinds of things.

And... lucky, lucky, I have tamarind paste. One of my favorite Indian recipes is tamarind chicken. Tamarind is such an amazingly tart flavor. It's so unique. But I never knew what else to do with it. So, it's been sitting in my cupboard, just waiting for a creative moment.

Well, thank you Bobby Flay! He featured this amazing (seriously, amazing!) BBQ chicken recipe on his show. The key is definitely in the secret sauce. It mixed the tartness of tamarind with the tang of orange juice. The sauce is incredible! He used it for dipping chicken wings, but because I always have some Costco chicken breasts on hand, I used those instead.

This is my version of his recipe....this is seriously a man pleaser!

Caribbean-Inspired Chicken BBQ

Chicken Breasts:
  • Two large chicken breasts, pounded flat into uniform thickness between two pieces of parchment paper
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons ground chili pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
The Secret Sauce:
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup tamarind concentrate/paste (purchase at an Asian food store or online)
  • 1-inch piece ginger, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1. After pounding the chicken flat (you can also use wings as Bobby did), brush the chicken with canola oil. Combine the spices and coat the chicken generously on both sides.

2. Grill the chicken on both sides. (Even the spice-rubbed chicken is amazing on its own!).

3. Combine all sauce ingredients except the vinegar in a small saucepan. Add 1/2 cup of water. Bring the liquid to a boil then reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer until it thickens up (about 15 mins).
Remove from heat and take out the ginger slices. Whisk in the vinegar and keep warm.

Serve the chicken with the sauce poured on top or on the side for dipping.

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