Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Sumac Spiced Grilled Chicken and Bread Salad

First of all, a very Happy New Year to all my readers and friends. Just back from my Middle Eastern sojourn and I must tell you, I had the most awesome time. Jordan is one of the most beautiful countries I have visited in the recent past. Breath taking views, superb food, good hospitality and some relaxed time with family. I was initially a bit skeptical about visiting an Islamic country considering the amount of tensions going on in its neighboring countries, but I was surprised to see how safe and liberal Jordan is. There are no strict rules for women and everyone has the freedom to do what is right and within the law. I would want to go back to Jordan again if given a chance! For now, here is a simple grilled chicken recipe prepared with Middle Eastern spices and some pictures of my amazingly wonderful trip!! Enjoy!

View from the airplane just before landing 
The start of our road trip 
The beautiful city of Petra, a land of hand carved Sand Rock Mountains and a World Heritage Site 
The Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth, with salinity 9.6% higher than normal ocean water. As such, no one can ever get drowned here!!
Now moving on to the recipe!! :)

7-8 chicken drumsticks or boneless chicken, whatever your choice
3-4 slices of dense bread ( I used whole wheat homemade bread; you can use store bought whole wheat bread)
1 medium onion sliced
1/2 cup mushroom sliced
1 tsp garlic minced
1/4 cup bell peppers chopped (you can use a mix for making the dish look interesting)
4-5 cherry tomatoes halved
1 tbsp sumac (it is a tart lemony herb from the Middle East; you can substitute it with 2 tsp lemon juice)
Herbs and spices of your choice ( I used a mix of cajun spicing, dried parsley, dried basil, and red chilli flakes)
Salt and pepper to taste 
2 tbsp olive oil divided

Wash and clean the chicken. Rub it with a little olive oil, lemon juice or Sumac, salt and pepper and keep aside overnight or for a minimum of 3-4 hours. If marinating overnight, be sure to bring it to room temperature before beginning the procedure. 
Heat oil (reserve some olive oil for later use) in a pan and add the garlic followed by the onions. Stir till the onions are translucent. Now add the mushrooms and the choice of herbs and spices and continue frying till just done. Check for seasoning and remove from heat and keep aside. 
Pre-heat the oven at 180 degree celsius and grease a baking dish. Spread the onion mushroom mixture in a single layer on the dish and arrange the chicken pieces on top of it. Sprinkle some pepper and garlic powder on top and grill the chicken for 20 minutes or till slightly browned. 

 Meanwhile, prepare the bread salad. Cut the bread into small chunks and keep it in a bowl (I had added the bread in the mushroom mixture and realized that some part of it became soggy and so suggest that you add it later). In the same bowl, add the bell peppers and tomatoes and olives (optional) and salt and pepper, sumac or lemon juice, and any other herbs and spices as you desire. Add the remaining olive oil and toss the salad well. 
Now take the chicken dish out and add the bread salad. Spread it out evenly and put it back in the oven for 10 more minutes till the bread chunks are toasted well. Remove from the oven and serve warm!

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