Healthy Cooking with Spices- Chicken Tikka Kebab
Spices should be a part of a healthy diet since they contain thousands of healthy phytonutrient compounds, including antioxidants and they are literally calorie-free. Using herbs and spices expands your palette without extra calories and may decrease the amount of salt, fat, and sugar you use without sacrificing flavor. Spices add a flavor boost to dishes. Tastier foods are more satisfying than bland ones, which you tend to eat faster, and with less fulfillment, so if you’re not satisfied, you’re more likely to overeat. Indian cooking uses spices in abundance.
We are making a chicken tikka kebab using a classic tandoori marinade. Traditionally these kebabs are cooked in the Tandoor, a clay oven, but we can easily make these in our home ovens at a high temperature like 450 degrees F. A tandoori marinade typically is a combination of yogurt, oil, lemon juice; minced ginger-garlic and a tandoori spice blend.
Health Benefits of some of the spices used in our recipe today:
Turmeric, which contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory is 50 times more potent than vitamin C or E
Cinnamon helps in preventing spikes in blood sugar levels and improves metabolism. Research shows that eating half a teaspoon of cinnamon daily reduces risk factors for diabetes and heart disease within six weeks.
Ginger, reduces inflammation, helps with digestion. Thai researchers recently found that middle-aged women who took a daily ginger supplement for two months exhibited a greater attention span and scored higher on memory tests than women who took a placebo.
Cayenne Pepper, helps crank up your body's thermostat, firing up your metabolism and helping you burn extra calories and fat.
CHICKEN TIKKA KEBABS
- 2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 teaspoons minced ginger
- 1 teaspoons cinnamon powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 large onion- diced into big chunks
- 1 large green bell pepper- diced into big chunks
- 1 large red bell pepper- diced into big chunks
- 12 6- to 8-inch bamboo skewers, soaked in water 30 minutes
- For marinade combine all ingredients except chicken, onion and peppers. Add chicken and mix well. Next toss the diced onions and peppers into the mixture. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Thread chicken on skewers, alternating with onions and peppers.
- Place kebabs in middle rack for 15 minutes. Rotate the skewers and bake for another 10- 15 minutes. You can broil the kebabs on high for a couple of minutes for a nice rich color.
- Serve with steamed basmati rice and yogurt raita.
2 Cups of Plain Yogurt
1 Cup Chopped Cucumber
½ Teaspoon Black Pepper
½ Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 Tablespoon Chopped Cilantro
Combine all ingredients and garnish with chopped cilantro. Served chilled.