Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Turkish touch: Sumac flavoured chicken

          The myriad hues of shimmering Turkish lamps, the sheen of silk, the intricate embroideries on satin spreads, antique kilims and rare carpets, turquoise and gold, the heady whiff of Turkish coffee, pleading invitations of shopkeepers, the joy of striking a bargain, the excitement, the epiphanies – the Grand Bazaar is like a bewitched maze in a fairytale land. Easy to get lost, only you will be more than willing to lose yourself. I had reserved an entire day for the Grand Bazaar, the last day of my holiday, and I am glad I did. But the one thing that was on my mind all the while were the peaks and mounds and shelves-full of spices – paprika, Iranian saffron, cinnamon, mixed spices and my favourite Sumac. And that's where my heart was all the while as I browsed through souvenirs and ceramics and shoes and bags.
          I checked out quite a few spice shops and finally decided that the best sumac was available at the second shop I had tried. The next half an hour or so was spent in finding it out. Quite an ordeal figuring out when you have 4000 shops to navigate through. But I did and had my sumac wrapped and yes I bargained and did strike a deal. Trust me I have a way with words. And no I am not exactly known for modesty. But the way, talking about this particular charmer of a shopkeeper. If you thought the Italians were the flirts, visit Turkey. And they do not even discriminate.
          So, I had my sumac safe in my bag. Coming to what sumac is, it is a tangy, lemony spice, a deep red powder that smells heavenly, used in Middle Eastern cooking.  It basically comes from sumac berries which are dried and ground. And it is delicious. Commonly, it is used in salads and even sprinkled on dips. It’s used in meat too. And ever since I had put that plastic wrapped spicy goodness in my bag, I have been itching to cook with it.
          And I did. Now, I am probably expected to share traditional Turkish recipes which I have come back with. But come on you can get them on other sites, so before I share the ones I got back from the trip, I planned to share my very own recipe with a Turkish twist. I have used flavours essentially Turkish and I think You will love it.


Chicken (boneless) –   I kg
Garlic paste: 2 tbsp
Grated ginger – 4 tbsp
Chopped parsley – ½ cup  
Sumac – 2 tbsp
Red chili powder – 1tbsp 
Cumin powder – 1 tbsp
Cinnamon powder – ¾ tsp
Salt to taste
Oil – ¼ cup


Marinade the chicken pieces with grated ginger, garlic paste, sumac, red chili powder, cumin powder, cinnamon powder, parsley and salt. Keep for 2 hours.  
Heat oil and add the chicken pieces. On high heat sear the chicken pieces laced with the marinade. Remove and transfer into a baking tray.
Preheat oven at 200 degree centigrade.   Grill the chicken pieces for 30 minutes, turning over the pieces once mid way.
Once done, line the chicken pieces on a tray and pour the juices over.

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