Using the Harissa for a super-duper grilled chicken

Good option for a minimal fat meal

So I had a jar of Harissa sitting in the fridge and there were an endless number of things that I wanted to make using this. But I knew that was near impossible. However, my chance to experiment came when the in-laws decided to visit us. This would be just a day after the mom’s (in-law, you know the terms mom-in-law and dad-in-law are banned in the family right?) birthday and I wanted to do something special for her, never mind the fact that I’d to get all the prep done for the Kit Kat cake before I took the first train out to Bengaluru the next morning.

I called the aunt and uncle over too because birthdays, no matter how old you are, call for a celebration – this is my lil’ sister’s logic and I’m beginning to subscribe to it too! Since we were going to have dinner together I didn’t want to do something heavy but yet it had to be filling. I turned to the fiance for help and he told me that anything Arabic or even Mediterranean would be a sure-fire hit and then he added, “You know babe, they aren’t fussy and my mum loves what you make so just make whatever you’d like.” Some fine encouragement that but I didn’t really progress too much with menu planning. That’s when I remembered the Harissa, why don’t I just marinate some chicken in it and grill the entire batch? Ta da! Now, I normally don’t experiment too much when I’m having guests over but just this one time I decided to take the chance, if the chicken tasted bad I knew I’d have a Plan B worked out in my head but my gut told me that this dish would work out just fine.

Something told me that just the Harissa for the marinade wouldn’t complete the dish, so I added a couple of other things to balance the flavours of this robust sauce. I knew this would be on the spicier side so I also did a yogurt sauce to go with it (forgot to click pics for that, my bad!), which may I add was just fantabulous, so much so that it was even being used as a sandwich spread!

And as for my gut feeling, thank God I listened to it! This dish was just yummy, all the marinating for 24 hours made the meat very tender and the flavours were that fine balance of subtle and robust at the same time.

Grilled Harissa Chicken with Yogurt sauce

For the chicken
1 kg of chicken, cleaned and cut into pieces

For the marinade
4-5tbsp of Harissa (see the recipe here)
2 tbsp of fresh curds
1/2 tsp of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 tsp of fresh lemon zest
Salt to taste
Olive oil

Mix all the ingredients together for the marinade, check seasoning and evenly coat the chicken pieces with this. Just to be sure that the marinade does its trick, I took a fork and pierced the surface of the chicken all over.

Allow the chicken to marinate for about 24 hours, this gives really very verrrrrrrrrrrry tender and flavourful meat, but if you don’t have too much time then even 4-6 hours should do. Place the meat in the fridge/ freezer to let it marinate.

Remove the chicken from the fridge, allow it to thaw completely. Place the pieces on a greased baking tray and drizzle some olive oil on this. Grill the chicken for about 25-30 minutes or until it is done. Serve hot.

Just off the grill

Yogurt sauce
1 1/2 cups of thick, hung curd
1 tsp of jeera, dry roasted
2 tbsp of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
Salt to taste

Mix all the ingredients together, check the seasoning and chill for a while before serving.

* I did a vegetarian version of this by using the same marinade for cubes of tofu and potatoes, which was yummy!
* If you’d like then you can serve the chicken with a quick spritz of fresh lemon juice just to add a tang to the dish.
* In case you have leftovers here’s what you can do: One thing is to shred the chicken well and use this as a filling for sandwiches. Another thing that you can do is again shred the chicken well and spread it along the centre of rotis, drizzle some of the yogurt sauce, add some thinly sliced onions and roll it up -Voila! You have a yummy wrap ready!

I’m sending this to The Master Chef Contest at Divya’s You too can cook Indian food and this is also going to SYF & HWS: Red chilli at Sumee’s Culinary bites, an event started by Anu of Anu’s Healthy Kitchen 


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