” Lazima tumake hii tena on Saturday!!!” (We must make this again this Saturday!!!) My youngest sister said after she saw the sneak peak I shared of this recipe on my Instagram Story on Monday. You guys were equally as excited and looked forward to having this recipe on the blog. I revealed that I had added a little twist to my usual chicken marinade ingredients that my mom taught me and the results were explosively delicious. Since I had some Ukwaju (tamarind) sitting pretty in the fridge, I decided to incorporate it into the marinade; and that has been one of the best cooking decisions I have made in a long time! Supper this past Monday was spectacular!!! And for the sake of my youngest sister, I shall make this once again this coming weekend and have her enjoy the same deliciousness! You should too ;))
For my first recipe this glorious month, I bring you my ukwaju marinated spicy chicken thighs.
PREP TIME: 15 MIN COOK TIME:45 MIN SERVES:4
4 chicken thighs
5 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary
5 tablespoons of balsamic (or apple cider) vinegar
1 teaspoon of paprika
1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of chilli flakes
1/4 cup of ukwaju (tamarind) paste
Shalimar chicken tikka spice blend
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil for frying
Remove your ukwaju from the pod if you purchase them unpeeled. Mine came already peeled.
In Nairobi, you can get Ukwaju from Zucchini, Food Plus, Ngara food market and the vegetable vendors at City Market. Place them in a pan with some water and let this simmer on low heat. After about 10 minutes, turn down the heat and let the ukwaju soak for another 10 minutes. They will swell up and make it easier to separate the pulp from the seeds. I learnt this from Pendo La Mama (check out this post where she makes tamarind paste too <3). You can do the extraction overnight too, but if you are in a rush, this method works.
Remove the pulp and then discard the fibers and the seeds.
Place your chicken in a bowl. Add the vinegar, rosemary, garlic and ukwaju. Mix it lightly then add all the spiced and mix well until completely combined. I usually use apple cider vinegar for my chicken marination, however lately I have been enjoying the flavor that balsamic vinegar has to offer. You can alternate between both vinegars and settle on the one you feel works best. Both kinds are sold in our local supermarkets at about 200 bob a bottle.
Once ingredients are fully combined, cover with a lid and let this marinate refrigerated for 8 hours or up to 3 days. Remember, the longer it marinated, the more intense the flavors shall be.
After the marination is done, some fluid will have collected in the bowl. Pour all this into a sufuria and boil your chicken. I boil my chicken with all the marinade contents before seasoning because I feel it intensifies the flavor. You have to boil it until all the liquid dries up; that will intensify the flavor by concentrating it as opposed to having it watery and less concentrated. If you prefer not to boil before seasoning, you can skip this step.
Once done, dip it in a paste of shalimar + black pepper; the same thing we did here. I bought my shalimar from Nakumatt at 100 bob a pack. Make sure to ALWAYS season your chicken before frying!!!
Once coated in your seasoning paste, we are ready to fry. This thighs look so delicious even before we are done cooking!!
Shallow fry the chicken until completely done and crispy. You will only need to flash fry so make sure your oil is hot enough so that your skin becomes crispy. Using cold oil will make the chicken soggy as it will soak up too much of it.
Remove from heat and serve. My ukwaju marinated spicy chicken thighs are the best thing you will ever sink your teeth into without doubt!
The spicy tikka-peppery seasoning beautifully compliments the tender marinated chicken flesh; which has the warm flavors of the garlic, herby taste of the rosemary and the bold flavor of our ukwaju. Layer after layer of absolute taste bud euphoria!!!
Whether with fries, potato wedges or ugali, my ukwaju marinated spicy chicken thighs will be a major hit on your dinner table! So for this new month, step out of what you are used to and try out some big, bold flavors!
This recipe was part of Black History Month virtual potluck where black bloggers from all over the world (Africa, North America, South America, The Carribean) made their (delicious!!) contributions. Do check out their delicious creations and get inspired to create that good food with a sprinkle of black magic ;)) !!!!!! These are 27 recipes, so for each day this month, try out one :)). They include :
To fantastic food,
Get your downloadable recipe here :))