Tanzanian Chicken Kebabs


Makes 6 servings of 3 skewers each

Zanzibar, Tanzania lies at the crossroads of the historical Indian-African-Arab-European trading routes, and its rich, spicy fusion food is pure gastronomic heaven. Bakari Hamdan, former chef of the Matemwe Beach Village guesthouse in Zanzibar, explains that it isn’t just the careful balance of freshly ground spices and other ingredients that makes this food so special; cutting meat up small not only makes a little of an expensive food go a long way but allows the spices to permeate for a richer flavor. How lucky that this delicious but simple recipe has the low calories and perfect nutritional balance to make it an honorable weight-loss staple.

Chef Bakari says he hopes you ‘chakula chema’ — Swahili for “enjoy your meal.” Serve the ‘mishkaki’ — kebabs — with a large tossed salad and a bowl of cucumber slices mixed with plain yogurt and a little chopped mint and salt. Add some whole-grain rice or chapati on the side for non-dieters, and round out your dinner with sliced ripe tropical fruit, such as mango, and a cup of Masala Tea or Kenyan Chai. Any leftover kebabs can be put to good use when preparing Indian Kebab Wraps.

Tanzanian Chicken Kebabs

Ingredients:

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt

2 tablespoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons very coarsley ground black pepper (see Note)

1 piece (1 inch by 1 1/2 inches)fresh ginger, peeled and grated

3 to 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 teaspoon salt

18 bamboo skewers

  1. Cut the chicken into very small pieces, approximately 1 inch by 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch; you should have about 72 pieces.
  2. Place the olive oil, yogurt, cumin, pepper, ginger, garlic and salt in a glass or stainless-steel bowl and stir to mix. Add the chicken and stir until it’s well coated. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours or as long as overnight.
  3. Preheat the grill to high and soak the bamboo skewers in water to cover for about 30 minutes to keep them from burning.
  4. Put about 4 pieces of chicken on each skewer the long way, so they almost touch. Grill the kebabs until just cooked through and nicely browned, about 1 minute per side.

Note: Grind the pepper on the coarsest setting; if it’s too finely ground, the dish will be too spicy.

 

Gluten Intolerant, Suitable for High Blood Pressure, Suitable for High Cholesterol, Suitable for Diabetics, Indian, African

Excerpted from The “I” Diet Copyright ©2008, 2010 by Susan B. Roberts, LLC and Elizabeth Kelly Sargent. Used by permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc., New York. All Rights Reserved.

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