Chicken is not my favourite protein. As a child I always felt it was the interloper, that turned up and just made things less interesting. No matter how it was cooked – and I now realise my mother’s chicken and rice and lovely garlicky, lemony skewers were at the most delicious end of the chicken spectrum – I couldn’t get excited about it. I used to separate the chicken from everything else on the plate so the vegetables wouldn’t get tainted. I even got annoyed because my little brother absolutely loved chicken. “Why do you like it?” I demanded in that big sister, bossy way (Because I was, just a little bit bossy).
Cooking private dinner parties here in London means that I meet people who regard chicken as something you choose to eat, not just something to eat when red meat is having a day off. I’ve cooked some of the classic Lebanese dishes, but I’m doing someone’s birthday soon and wanted to do something which embodied the current street food vibe. Here’s my take on Chicken Dukkah Bites which I first read on Taste of Beirut. The key to this is to spice the Dukkah with things you love and make it as interesting as you want. And make sure the chicken is well spiced. Don’t shy away.
The recipe. Easy.
- I used 500 grams of minced chicken, half a large squeezed lemon, a good teaspoon of salt and a mixture of Lebanese seven spice, white pepper, paprika, turmeric and sumac to flavour it.
- For the Dukkah I roasted a cup of sesame seeds and a cup of crushed walnuts. To that I added coriander seeds, cumin seeds – about a tablespoon of each plus a tablespoon of caraway powder. Yes powder. This is the secret ingredient. Salt and pepper of course. Don’t skimp.
- Mould the chicken into sausage shapes. You can do it on skewers or just free style. Dip in flour, eggs and Dukkah. Refrigerate for a bit.
- I shallow fried them in Rapeseed oil. I love its golden colour and it just makes more sense for frying than olive oil as it won’t smoke. I reckon about six minutes to cook. Medium heat.
- To serve I just whizzed some lemon juice into some Lebanese yoghurt, Labneh, and added a little salad.
The result was more interesting than even I thought it would be. I think you’ll like them and the kids won’t know they’re eating chicken:)
I made my own Dukkah. It’s easy and you can use what you wish. You just need a main nut and then some different seeds and flavourings. I used walnuts, toasted sesame seeds (I toasted them) cumin seed, caraway (really interesting addition) and coriander seed.
I made Labneh, thinned out with lemon juice to go with it. Everyone loved them. Enjoy.