Servings : Serves 2-4
The word ‘sekela’ is Gujrati for roasted or grilled. This recipe yields a succulent spicy tender chicken and is ideal for barbecuing, but can also be oven-roasted.
- 1 small spring chicken around 750gm, skin removed (split in half or quarters)
- 2 tbsp thick yoghurt
- 1 tbsp lemon/lime juice
- 1 tbsp tamarind paste
- 1 tsp vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp ginger paste
- 2 tsp garlic paste
- 2 tsp tomato paste/puree
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil (plus a little extra for brushing the chicken during grilling)
- 1 tbsp paprika powder
- red food colouring (optional)
Clean and cut the chicken in half or divide into quarters. Brine the chicken pieces by completely immersing them in water that has been seasoned with 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, quarter cup white vinegar, juice of half a lemon plus some roughly chopped fresh herbs like coriander or parsley. This helps plump up the chicken, making it moist and tender and infusing more flavour into it. Refrigerate the chicken in its brining water for 1-4 hours. Then drain out the liquid, rinse out the chicken pieces properly to get rid of any excess salt and proceed with the marinating.
Make slits in each piece of chicken and set aside.
Put all the remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth. Pour this marinade onto the chicken, massaging it well into all the slits. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to cook, ensure the chicken has come to room temperature by taking it out of the fridge at least half an hour earlier. Shake the excess marinade off the chicken pieces.
Turn on the charcoal grill and place a lightly oiled wire mesh over it. Grill the chicken over medium heat, turning the pieces regularly and basting them occasionally with a bit of oil until cooked through.
Alternatively, you can cook this chicken in an oven. First grill the chicken under the broiler grill of your oven for about 5 minutes per side, just to seal the chicken pieces so they stay nice and moist inside. Then place the pieces of chicken on a lightly greased tray and roast in a preheated oven at 180 C for 20 minutes (turn them over midway through the baking). Next, reduce the temperature to 120 C and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until cooked through. Make sure to brush the chicken with some of the leftover marinade once more midway during the baking so they stay moist. Once done, remove and keep the chicken covered to retain moisture.
If you did not bbq the chicken on a charcoal grill, you can at this point light a small coal, place it on a piece of foil and put it in the centre of the dish holding the cooked chicken. Drop some oil on the lit coal and cover the dish so that the smoke released from the coal gets absorbed into the chicken. This will give your chicken a good bbq aroma.
For the remainder of the marinade/sauce, just pour it into a small saucepan, add about half a cup of water and simmer until the sauce thickens and is cooked. You can use this to serve with the chicken.
Serve with fries, yoghurt and a fresh salad.