Vegetarian Chicken Kebabs

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A story wrapped around a recipe. Or is it the other way around?

Spice mixture Indian Garam Masala
Spice mixture Indian Garam Masala (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, gentle readers, my previous recipe went down well. Despite some who, though claiming to be English teachers, had trouble reading through the commentary to get to the recipe and others who thought the preparation method was haphazard (it is not according to the author and those who actually used it), it was generally considered yummy. Today, therefore, building on the success of that recipe, I give you another fabulously delicious vegetarian dish, namely, chicken kebabs.

Now, now, before you say anything else, calm down and I’ll explain why this is vegetarian. First, vegetarian food has no bones, these kebabs ( or any kebabs ) have no bones. The biggest test has been cleared. Next, we consider that chicken kebabs come from chickens and what are chickens full of? Yes, Timmy? Grain, that’s right! Both tests have passed and we can safely say now that chicken kebabs are vegetarian.

Onwards now to the recipe, for I know you want me to stop being long-winded and get on with it. Well, my dears, I have to inform you that the recipe is not easy and this one, in particular, went a very long way from inception to the actual eating. But — enough chatter (too late — Ed.).

First things first, prepare your barbeque grill. Do you need a new one? How do you tell? Here’s how to tell.

Open refrigerator and look longingly at packet of uncooked Oktoberfest sausages. Shut fridge door and head down to the barbecue. If your barbecue automatic lighter is broken, that is your first indicator that you may be needing a new barbeque ( ahh fudge — I'm not going to change the qs to cs in the spelling of barbeque). However, most barbeque grills come with a manual option for lighting up. Find a lighter — a cigarette lighter probably won’t do and you’re a non-smoker anyway. Get one of those long lighters and light the barbeque. Now pick up your wire brush and start cleaning the grill as it heats up.

Check if you feel any warmth near your midriff as you lean in slightly to brush the grill. If you do, check the front panel of the grill. If the plastic panel with the control knobs is on fire, you need a new barbeque. Quickly shut down the barbeque and disconnect the gas line. Get a beer and sit down and ruminate on what might have been. Cook the sausages in a pan in the kitchen and eat sadly.

The next day start the hunt for a new barbeque that won’t burn the house down. Turn to the internet and look at what’s out there, visit Home Depot and Lowe’s. Reconcile to the fact that between your budget and your wants stands a yawning gap. Suspend the search as winter sets in.

Come early spring and as the temperatures become less likely to claw at you with sharp, icy fingers, a middle-aged man’s thoughts turn lightly to grilling. Resume the weekly review of flyers from stores stoking the cold embers of past grills in an effort to burn a hole in your wallet. Decide that nothing but a Weber grill will do. One Sunday morning in mid-May find the perfect model on sale at Home Depot. It’s a Weber, natural gas (no cylinders), has cast iron grates and is on sale!

Obtain finance — the author cannot underline the importance of this step.

Throw adult elder son into van and head to the nearest Home Depot. Find no such model. Accost listless young store assistant and ask for it. Wait while said listless young man looks up stock on a computer and reports that there should be one but it is likely the system is not updated. Give up, muttering darkly about unhelpful store assistants and head to the next Home Depot. Repeat 3 more times till late in the evening.

Just before 5pm, squelch elder son’s whining and head miles away to the Home Depot in the neighboring town. Run into store 5 minutes before closing time and see a stack of 6 or 7 barbeque grills lying in boxes just inside the door. Check model, huzzah! Fall onto stack all the while crying “it’s mine, it’s mine!”.

Out of the corner of the eye, spot store clerk heading towards you. Respond to her query “Sir, you alright?” with a mute nod to the box pointing alternately to the box and your chest. Calm your emotions, steady your hands and pay for grill and load into the car. Bring home and assemble most of it until darkness stalls work. Complete assembly the next day, or rather leave elder son to complete assembly the next day.

Congratulations! You are thorough and conscientious, probably middle-aged or personally known to the author or related to him in some way. You will make an excellent analyst or researcher, more likely you teach English at some level or have studied it at length. You must guard against the slight streak of masochism that may color your reading habits. You will have much joy when you use the recipe below to make your own kebabs.

Equipment list:

A fridge
Mixing bowls
Knives, forks, spoons and tongs and things like that
Shrink wrap
Skewers

Ingredients: (see disclaimer in my previous recipe, the same disclaimer that the English teacher found to be gobbledy-gook).

1 kg Boneless chicken meat diced
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tbsp Salt
1 tsp Chilli powder
1 tsp Garam masala ( Google if you need to know what that is)
2 tbsp Tandoori masala or paste
1 tsp Chopped green chillies ( also called Thai chillies for some reason)
2 Limes
1 cup Yogurt (plain) or better still sour cream
1 tbsp Canola or some other vegetable oil. Remember? This is a vegetarian dish.

Prep:

Mix all the ingredients except for the chicken pieces and limes till you get a nice pasty marinade. Toss the chicken pieces in and get in there and massage the paste into the pieces. Shrink wrap (the top of the bowl, you understand? No, I don’t — Ed. You’re an idiot, Ed — author) and let it sit for 4 hours or overnight. In the refrigerator, it is in the equipment list for a reason, you know.

If using those thin wooden skewers, soak them in water for a couple of hours. Better still invest in some nice iron, square skewers. Reusable and give you that nice square restaurantish hole in the middle of the kebab. Anyway, it's too late now, you should have read this whole thing through before starting.

Light grill, bring it up to nice hot heat — 450F at least. While that is happening skewer chicken pieces on to skewers. Brush off the grill and place skewers on grill and turn heat down to medium, keeping lid closed. Turn at intervals, about 5 minutes between turns until cooked through.

Cut up the limes and squeeze the juice over the still hot kebabs. Serve as an appetizer with drinks (beer), in which case garnish with chat masala (look it up) and / or sliced red onions or roasted, crushed poppadums (mommadums will not work). You could even try crushed peanuts if you’re feeling at once adventurous and ditzy.

Quite easy, actually, once you’ve been forced to read through the whole grill story! Say sheesh!

Don't forget to send me that customary dollar.

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