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Chicken Kebabs with Tomato Raita

August 10, 2009

kebabmeal

This week’s co-op order arrived on Friday, and I had no shortage of garden-fresh cucumbers. Recipe ideas churned in my head, and then it hit me:  What could possibly be better than raita for squeezing every last ounce of flavor out of a cucumber?

I decided to prep Madhur Jaffrey’s Tomato Raita on Sunday afternoon so that the flavors could blend overnight. Served with chicken kebabs on Monday evening, the raita would offer a spicy-yet-light-and-cool dipping sauce for the chicken—and we all know how much the kiddies like dipping sauces. 🙂

As I reached for the ground cumin in the bottle from the store—crowded between the vanilla and the cloves—I remembered the very nice spice grinder that Nordic Babe gave me for Father’s Day. A cool kitchen gadget was about to be called into action!

I left the store-bought ground cumin in the cupboard and grabbed the tin of cumin seeds instead. Out came the sauté pan, and in went the seeds for a few minutes of roasting over medium heat. [Smell of roasting cumin wafts through the room.] Cumin seeds release such a delicious, nutty aroma as they darken a shade or two; the smell is instantly recognizable (IMHO, nothing else really smells like cumin), and it quickly takes over the atmosphere of the entire house. As soon as the first tiny seed popped, jumped and danced across the pan, it was time to take them off the heat.

After cooling for a few minutes, I ground them in my white Kuhn Rikon grinder. The difference between the freshly-ground cumin and the stuff in the bottle was unbelievable. Note to self: Remember to grind your own spices whenever possible.

Cucumbers chopped. Tomatoes diced. Spices in play. Delectable.

The dinner turned out wonderfully, although the children were suspicious of the paprika I sprinkled on top of the rice. Once I told them it was the same sprinkles that they eat on the hummus every time we go to our favorite Lebanese place, all was well. We will certainly be doing this meal again.

MUSIC:  ‘Chamma Chamma’, Urmila Matondkar . . . check it out here

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