Chef John, from Cuisinero Uno at the Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay, says of cooking with his favourite meat: “Chicken is one of the most, if not the best used produce in the world. It is very versatile in terms of handling and cooking, and has a neutral mild flavour that can go with different spices and dressings. It is widely used in all cuisines, from Asian and European to South American. Chicken is a very good source of protein and, if prepared properly, can taste exceptional. It is also an ingredient that is readily available everywhere and is not expensive. Having said that, chicken can be a challenging ingredient for a chef. Because it is so common, it gives you an opportunity to turn something normal into something special.”
Charcoal chicken with papaya atchara
Serves 4 to 5
Ingredients and method for the marinade
10g achuete powder
4 pieces kaffir lime leaves
200ml corn oil
3 pieces lime
5g black pepper
500g skin on chicken thigh
Prepare the marinade by mixing all the ingredients inside a blender and pulse until it forms a loose paste.
Soak the chicken thighs in the mixture for 24 hours and store in the fridge.
Ingredients and method for the atchara
150g young papaya
200ml white vinegar
100g white sugar
10g turmeric powder
50g red pepper
20g coriander leaves
Peel and slice the young papaya, carrots and red pepper into thin sheets and cut into thin strips. Set aside.
Prepare the atchara by simmering the vinegar, water and sugar in a small pot for two minutes. Remove from heat and add the turmeric powder.
Put the papaya strips, carrots and pepper in the pot and simmer for another minute.
Remove from heat and place the mix over an ice bath. Once it cools, transfer the mix into another container and leave it in the fridge for pickling. You can use the atchara after two days.
Assembling the dish
On a hot charcoal grill, lightly sear the marinated chicken thighs over high heat. Continue cooking them on the side over smoke, where there is lower heat, until fully cooked.
Place a bed of the pickled papaya, carrots and peppers on a plate and lay the charcoal chicken on top. Garnish the dish with some coriander leaves to finish.
Updated: April 11, 2019 04:40 PM