I know many of you would have felt knee –jerk reactions during the semi finals of football world cup, well Brazil seemed to be loosing it out at that time and now it will involve many more knee-jerk reactions, jerking all the way from bottom- to –top. Although the management of the entire game schedules were spot on and impeccable and that I must add here. And, also we did get a knee-jerk reaction when we spotted a fox near the back yard of our apartment complex. Well, this is nothing new, it is indeed a common sight for many here, although for us it was the first time in broad day-light. We couldn't believe our eyes, dear daughter caught this moment with our point and shoot camera. And couple of friends have also told us that, if they keep rubbish outside in night, these foxes come and do hunt out food for them, making the well-kept garden messy all over. The sight of Lionel Messi would have been better not the foxes messy,let’s now be tight-lipped about it.
Well, this recipe of jerk chicken fingers is not at all that dramatic and knee-jerking as if you would start dreaming out of it. But, taste wise it is indeed very flavorful and can be considered over-whelming but not certainly knee-jerking, although it still will be called chicken jerk-“fingers” not chicken jerk –“knee”.Ok, please refrain ourselves from further imaginations and let’s say its good as gold to be a great finger food or party food/appetizers.
Coming to the recipe, jerk seasoning that I have used in this recipe comes here in spice packets, and that’s what globalization intends to do to you. I am sure you all must have heard about “jerk chicken” which has its origin somewhere in Caribbean island, and taking that cue, I made these chicken jerk fingers. There are plenty of recipes available in internet to make home-made jerk seasonings and use accordingly. One recipe is this and this- detailed recipe of jerk chicken and this-dry rub spice-mix.
I have used Kashmiri red pepper powder for that reddish color and also it does add little bit of spice also. However it’s not required strictly, a plain Jane type of chicken fingers with only jerk seasoning will also turn out flavorful, overnight marination of chicken pieces is recommended, so that spices can well incorporate inside chicken. Yogurt helps in tenderization of flesh and also as great base to bind all the spices well. If you are allergic to milk-products then you may skip it and use lemon juice or vinegar as well.
Now to the jerk chicken recipe
Jamaican Jerk Chicken Fingers or Tenders
Chicken finger fillets about 300 Gms
2 tsp of coriander powder
1 tsp of jerk seasoning
1 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of Kashmiri march powder/Kashmiri red pepper powder
½ tsp of freshly crushed black peppercorn
5-6 heaped tsp of thick Greek style yogurt or 2 tsp of lemon juice or any other souring agent
After cleaning chicken pieces, pat them dry with a kitchen towel. We do get chicken finger fillets here, however if you don’t then you can make, cut strips from chicken breast pieces as well.
Now add in all the dry ingredients- coriander powder, jerk seasoning, crushed black pepper, Kashmiri red pepper powder (I have used MDH brand Kashmiri red pepper powder which seems to be little high on hot level and as well on color), for jerk seasoning I have used Rajah Brand and Schwartz brand so far and seems to be satisfied with the results. (Jerk seasoning originates from Caribbean cuisine, specially from Jamaica- a famous chicken recipe is, Jamaican Jerk Chicken , will update the blog with that recipe as well)
Add in salt as per taste and thick Greek-style yogurt also. Coat chicken finger fillets very well with the spices and yogurt mixture.
Now put on the oven at 200 deg C, set it at and grill the chicken fillets for about 20-25 mints or till they get nice smoky texture or are well charred.It would be nice if the tray is covered with foil. It also depend on the cuts of the chicken fillets , so check out in between and keep an eye over the grilling process in oven.
Or you may bake the chicken as well. For that take out in mid-way, and if you need then coat those with cooking oil.I have never done that as we like to have it oil-free and grilled which turns out soft.You may use sour cream in place of yogurt as well which is even better gives a very smooth texture once the chicken is done.
You may use this seasoning to grill other vegetables like- zucchini, bell pepper, onions etc as well. Vegetarian can skip chicken or meat and use tofu or paneer to make Jerk tofu/paneer fingers, all other ingredients remain same.
As usual we served along with cooked cous-cous and slices of tomato and cucumber.
Happy cooking and have a lovely weekend