Inspired by the charcoal infused/grilled version found across the state of Kerala. Grilled Chicken marinated with dry roasted, ground spices and yoghurt to give you a mouth watering and healthy dish that explodes with flavour.
We don’t consume or cook a lot of meat at home. On the occasions that we do, fish usually dominates the menu (perks of being a malayalee). Its true; we don’t stray far from our fish, coconuts and bananas 🙂
I was curious to experiment with this particular recipe because of my husband. V is constantly raving about the Al Faham he devoured at Zam Zam in Trivandrum. He’s a bigger foodie than I am, so naturally I was intrigued. Al Faham has Middle Eastern origins but is so widely popular in Kerala that we have our own version of it.
The authentic recipe involves marinating the chicken in an Arabic spice blend called Bezar which is then barbequed over a charcoal grill to give you that perfectly smoked flavour and slightly charred texture. The Kerala version uses fewer spices compared to the Arabic blend which makes it simpler without compromising on the taste and quality. I don’t own a charcoal grill, so I microwave grilled this instead and I was pleasantly surprised by how well this turned out.
I definitely recommend this to anyone tired of the usual takeaways and looking for an exciting, delicious and healthy alternative.
Here’s a step by step play of the recipe. Scroll down for the full recipe and directions.
Oven Grilled Al Faham Chicken
- Credit: Jas’s food book.
- Please note that prep time does not include marination time.
- 500 Grams Chicken Thigh (with skin preferably) ** For Marinade 1 **
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp yoghurt or hung curd
- 2 tsp garlic (5-6 cloves), finely minced or crushed
- 1 tsp ginger, finely minced or crushed
- 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
- 1.5 tsp salt ** For Marinade 2**
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 2 dried red chillies
- 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp cumin (jeera) seeds
- 1 small sized tomato
- 1 small sized onion
- 1 garlic pod
- 1 small green chilli (optional based on your spice preference)
- 1/2 cup or a small bunch of fresh coriander leaves
- 1 tbsp Olive oil or any vegetable oil
- 1/4 tsp garam masala
- Gently pat the chicken with a rolling pin. This makes the chicken more tender.
- Make a few slits on both sides of the chicken to ensure maximum marination and flavour.
- Rinse the chicken once again and set aside. ** Marinade 1 **
- Prepare the ingredients for marinade 1.
- Add the lime juice first. Then add the yoghurt/hung curd. I used hung curd which is simply curd that has been strained over a muslin cloth for an hour.
- Add crushed garlic, ginger, pepper powder and salt.
- Mix thoroughly and set aside for 20 minutes, while you prepare ingredients for Marinade 2. ** Marinade 2 **
- Take a small non-stick pan. Dry roast red chillies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds on a low/medium flame. Make sure you stir continuously to avoid burning the mixture. You’ll know it’s done once the colour of the coriander seeds turn a darker shade. You should also notice a shift in the aroma. Turn off the flame and once cooled, transfer this to a blender/grinder.
- Dry grind the roasted spices in the blender till you get a fine powder.
- Add a small tomato, onion, garlic pod, green chilli (optional) and fresh coriander leaves to the blender. Grind again till you get a nice green paste. Do not add any water when you grind.
- Add this green spice paste to the chicken. Use your hands to mix this thoroughly so every bit of the chicken is covered in the spices.
- Add garam masala. Add olive oil or vegetable oil. Mix well.
- Refrigerate and marinate for at least 4-6 hours. I marinated this for 4 hours but if you can plan ahead, then it’s best to marinate this for 10 hours.
- Preheat the oven/microwave at 200 degree celsius or 473 degrees farenheit.
- Take the chicken out from the fridge and place the pieces on a grill. Transfer to the oven. Make sure you place a tray/plate below the grill for collecting any masala that drips.
- Grill for 20 minutes. Check the texture after 20 minutes, it should be glossy, tender and slightly charred. Turn the pieces over and grill for another 10 minutes to make sure both sides are evenly done.
- Serve the chicken, hot with a simple homemade mint-yoghurt chutney and lime. Garnish with some tomatoes, coriander and onions.