Thursday, June 12, 2014

Moroccan Style Chicken Kabobs On Yellow Rice Pilaf With Raisins And Almonds

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I am in love with Ras El Hanout.  No, he is not a tall, dark and handsome Arab, although I wish it were. Ras El Hanout is an exotic and aromatic North African spice blend used in grilled meats, curries and tagines. The name is Arabic for "head of the shop" and implies the best spices the seller has to offer.

There is no definitive combination of spices in the mix.  Each shop, company or person may have its own blend which can consist of over a dozen spices. Commonly used ingredients are cardamon, clove, cinnamon, ground chili peppers, coriander, cumin, peppercorn, paprika, fenugreek and turmeric. To this mix, some spices, particular to the region, may be toasted and added to the blend.




I have been experimenting with Ras El Hanout ever since I fell in love with Yotam Ottolenghi's cooking.   I bought all three of his cookbooks and promptly  ordered a bunch of spices from Williams Sonoma.  Ras El Hanout was one of them.  I have already posted two of his recipes, here and here.  Lately,with everything that is going on in this house, cooking has been simple and I have not had a chance to dig deep into his books; but the other night I added this spice blend to the chicken kabobs we were having for dinner.  We loved it.  They were spicy, aromatic and full of flavor.  Everything you would dream about in the perfect grilled chicken.





Ras El Hanout can be ordered  on several sites on the Internet, including Amazon.  As a benchmark, I strongly recommend the blend on the Williams Sonoma website,  but have included a simple recipe below.

Before you say anything, I know soy sauce is not part of Moroccan cuisine and neither are Vidalia onions,  or tomatoes for that matter, but it works.  The world has shrunk and now everything is available everywhere.  Let's take advantage of it and bend the rules once in awhile,  when and if appropriate.   Trust me, this really works!





Accompany with  Yellow Rice Pilaf With Raisins And Almonds but substitute saffron for turmeric. 






Moroccan Style Chicken Kabobs

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts or 4 chicken thighs

Marinade

1 TB Ras El Hanout
4 garlic cloves mashed
juice of 1 lime or lemon
1 TB soy sauce
1 TB chopped cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil

1 Vidalia or Spanish onion
4 cherry tomatoes
1 red, yellow or orange pepper
Salt and pepper

Directions

Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces.  In a bowl mix the rest of the ingredients.  Marinade the chicken for at least 1/2 hour. 

Quarter the onions and cut the peppers into 1 inch pieces.  

Skewer the chicken, tomatoes, onions and peppers, alternating.  Drizzle the chicken marinade over the kabobs.  Sprinkle salt and pepper on all sides.





Light the grill and cook on medium high until chicken is done.  If it begins to char too much, lower the temperature and move kabobs to the back of the grill.


Optional but good:  Accompany with sour cream, mango chutney and avocado slices with oil and vinegar. Pita bread can be substituted for the rice.


Ras El Hanout

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon ground cumin\
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds\
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Preparation:


In a small bowl whisk together all ingredients until combined well. Spice blend keeps in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 month.

All photos except #2 Lindaraxa
Photo #2 Williams Sonoma

Lindaraxa has not received payment for mentioning any of the products in this post..

6 comments:

  1. These look delicious, and I am trying to figure out how I can make my own version. The ras el hanout seems a lot like curry powder, and sounds good, but I was thinking of a more Asian-style adaptation.
    --Jim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well....Ras El Hanout is like curry powder in that it is a mix of spices. The main difference is the heat in the form of cayenne or paprika added to the mix. Try sprinkling a bit of curry and see how it goes. Only way to find out.

      Delete
  2. Interesting that you should post this just 2 days after I made something similar--and I was all set to send an emergency email asking what could be done with some absurdly large boneless breasts of chicken. Suspecting toughness, I cubed them and marinated them for several hours in spices, ginger etc and thick yogurt, which seemed to have a tenderizing effect. They were delicious, but yours look much nicer! The inclusion of soy sauce in your recipe did throw me a bit. Can you tell us what prompted it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I make shish kabobs I usually add either soy sauce or worcestershire sauce for moisture and added flavor, always combined with olive oil or sometimes sesame oil depending the mood I'm in. After looking at the ingredients in the REH I felt the soy sauce would work better and would add the salt element necessary. Does that make sense?

      They were marvelous. Actually I was thinking of trying the yogurt marinade next. It's weird the way you and I connect when it comes to food!

      Delete
  3. This looks awfully good. I've never heard of Ras El Hanout but it has a lot of flavors I enjoy. I'll have to stop by our local WS and pick up a jar over the weekend...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I hadn't tried it either until recently Frank. The WS blend has rosebuds and other things. It is delightful, especially on chicken and pork. Thanks for stopping by.

    ReplyDelete

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