Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tamarind Can Chicken

-Redeye Chicago Virtual Kitchen Stadium

Today was the day for my round 1 battle in the Redeye virtual stadium cook-off. Its basically an iron chef type battle over the internet between eight Chicago foodies including myself. The battle pits a one on one bracket style elimination between 4 foodies this week and last with the winners moving on. The challenge is to cook with the secret ingredient announced over twitter at 10a each Tuesday morning and have a recipe, explanation and pictures ready to go for Redeye by 8p that night. Last week the two winners won by making dishes using the secret ingredient of cherries as chosen by none other than the legend himself...Rick Bayless.

Basically the most important chef in Chicago is going to tell me why I should of stuck to sports and debt collecting instead of cooking. There isn't a damn thing me or anyone competing is going to be teaching and therefore arguing to Rick about cooking so I just hope he likes whats thrown at him. Now there's quite a few things I could argue with to his brother Skip in the wide world of sports-but that's for another day.

It just so also happens that I'll be facing off against another Chicago food blogger named Eddie Lakin who brings the realness to the web and runs the site cooking and eating in Chicago. A fantastic blog and writer, Eddie has a super vision of just my type of place-described as "Five Guys meets Hot Dougs" I had a feeling that since last week they did cherries which are in season, they would do a vegetable such as sweet corn this time around.

So around 10am this morning the ingredient was announced...Tamarind.

Hot Damn, WTF am I going to do? I know about tamarind and enjoy tamarindo juice on a hot summer day after a visit to my local mercado and I know its used in Asian cooking but I had never used it. I then spent a good hour thinking about what to do and will explain what happened below. So off I went to the Broadway Asian market in Uptown to pick up some goods. I would highly encourage you check out Chef Eddie's detailed description of his day on the battle circuit and his thoughts on todays events.

round 1 week 2's secret ingredient

So I now present to my loyal readers the same report that I sent to the Redeye.

I encourage you to get out and vote for your favorites. Click HERE to do so.

Redeye Virtual Kitchen Stadium Cookoff

I wasn't sure what to do with the secret ingredient of tamarind. At first I had planned to do some sort of tamarind glazed chicken wings but didn't think that there would be enough WHOA! in those. So I thought and thought and decided I would do a chicken dish but not some boring dish like glazed chix breast or something like that and then it hit me...a beer can chicken marinated in a tamarind sauce.

The original plan was to use Negra Modelo but then another light flashed and I thought if people use stuff like Dr. Pepper and apple juice in place of the brew for beer can chicken then why not the combo of tamarind juice and the malta beverage that is popular throughout the Caribbean and South America.

A good friend of mine who happens to be one of the fast rising stars of the culinary world who works in a highly regarded Chicago kitchen had mentioned to me one time she used a block of tamarind and softened it and cooked it down in a few bottles of malta beverage. Then she and the people in her kitchen mixed in some butter and passed it through a chinois and then pureed it in a blender and used it as a glaze for duck-so that's how my recipe came about. So a big up's and super thanks to Stephanie Reagor Serota. I also decided to serve it with grilled zucchini and a grilled corn on the cob rubbed with tamarind butter and mango slaw. Those veggies were placed alongside some grilled pineapple and I put the mango slaw in an endive leaf for presentation.

The marinade is the key to the dish and I had an original plan of using a tamarind glaze with tamarind butter but then decided to try a tamarind style buffalo BBQ sauce and mixed the paste with butter and Louisiana hot sauce, two key ingredients in buffalo chicken wings. I then tossed those ingredients into a blender with everything else needed for the marinade which can be seen below.

The result is a tart, yet savory, flavored chicken with moist meat and a nice kick of heat to make it a sweet and spicy style chicken with influence from Caribbean, Asian and American cuisines.

KingT's Tamarind Can Chickan
(spelled to sound like chick-ann on purpose)

1 whole fryer chicken
Buffalo tamarind marinade
vegetables to grill as sides
Mango slaw (recipe below)

Buffalo Tamarind Marinade
(Recipe Below)

7 tablespoons tamarind paste
1/4 cup Louisiana Hot sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 shallots, peeled and cut into quarters
1/2 stick butter
1 tablespoon hot chili paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Toss everything in a blender and puree until smooth.

Take marinade and pat down the chicken in it, make sure to get under the skin as well as to make sure its coated on the outside. Let it marinade as long as you can in a ziplock bag up to 36 hours if possible but at least two.

the longer the better for marinating with this sauce

"beer" can mixture

1 12 oz can goya brand or any tamarind juice
1 bottle of Malta beverage
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon Togarashi spice powder

Used in place of the brew for beer can chicken

Pour a little more than half of the tamarind juice out of the can and fill it up 3/4 of the way with some malted beverage. Poke a few more holes into the top of the can and put the lemon juice and spice mixture into the liquid. Place marinated chicken on top of can.

Tamarind BBQ Sauce

remaining marinade from chicken
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup tamarind juice
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons honey
salt and pepper

Tamarind BBQ sauce

Empty the remaining marinade in a sauce pot and pour the other half of the malted beverage into the pot along with the rest of the ingredients above and bring to a boil and then simmer for 30-40 minutes until it gets to a BBQ sauce consistency. Add corn starch mixed in water to thicken it if it hasn't done it itself after enough time. Set aside sauce when done.

Preheat grill for indirect heat and place bird on the grill balanced by the beer can. Grill over indirect medium heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until internal temperature of thigh is 180 degrees. Remove chicken when finished cooking and let sit (with beer can still intact), for 10 minutes before carving. Serve bird with choice of grilled veggies and mango slaw. I used grilled zucchini and grilled corn served with tamarind butter.
To make tamarind butter cook off the tamarind pulp to soften it. Then puree it or pass it thru something because its fibrous. Then mix it with softened about 50/50 .

this guy is the designated driver for the beer can birds

Mango Slaw
3 cups napa cabbage-diced
1 ripe mango-peeled & diced
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1/4 cup red onion
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons chopped basil
2 tablespoons mint
4 tablespoons sesame oil
1 lime squeezed over cabbage
salt and pepper

Mix everything in a bowl and toss.

Mango Slaw served in endive leaves...I feel so fancy.

The Platter for the Players

Decorate your plate and drizzle the chix with BBQ sauce and also serve the sauce on the side.

KingT's Tamarind Can Chickan

Enjoy and be sure to get out and vote.

We still Smokin'...


Eddie Lakin said...

Nicely done, T. Thanks for the shoutout and links.

Alex said...

thanks for posting. really nice makes me wanna eat.

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