There's something magical about Channuka in Israel.
I love the ritual of public candle lighting in obscure like the supermarket, and the bank, and the way customers and passersby stop to sing and join in.
I love how this happy holiday coincides with the newly, vibrant green fields, street verges and parks.
And I love the sense of a week-long party as people host, and are hosted, at joyful, candle-lit get-togethers.
Real meals fall by the wayside this week as everyone dashes about and food preparation time is cut to a minimum.
This delicious chicken dish is ideal for the time-starved cook as assembling the marinade takes minutes, marinated chicken is simply slid into the oven and forgotten about, and it can easily be adapted to casually feed a hungry, candle-lighting crowd.
Make it over chag, for Friday nights, or a casual Saturday lunch. But be sure to bookmark this winning recipe.
1 kg chicken thighs (pargiot)
Olive oil for cooking
1 cup (250 ml) coconut cream
2 teaspoons (10 ml) crushed garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons (7 ml) ground coriander
2 teaspoons (10 ml) ground cumin
2 teaspoons (10 ml) sweet paprika
1 teaspoon (5 ml) onion powder (Meatland)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) hot paprika (optional)
1/2 teaspoon (3 ml) black pepper
1 1/2 (7 ml) teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
3 tablespoons (45 ml) tomato paste
SERVING IDEAS: Pita bread, laffa, tortilla, mejadra rice, hummus, tahini, tabbouleh, roast potato wedges, lettuce, sliced tomato, red onion etc.
1: Mix marinade ingredients together, add chicken and allow to marinate for at least 3 hours but longer is best.
2: Remove chicken from marinade and thread onto wooden or metal skewers then place elevated on a baking dish - by this I mean that the ends of the skewers are on the edges of the dish and the chicken itself is lifted up so that the heat can get all around - then drizzle over olive oil and cook at 200 C for approximately 25 minutes.
3: Turn chicken pieces over, spoon over pan juices and a little more olive oil, and cook again for approximately 25 minutes or until golden.
4: Allow to rest then remove from skewers, slice into strips and serve in pita/laffa with suggested serving ingredients, or simply serve alongside roasted potato wedges, green salad, mejadra, or similar. Delicious hot or cold.
COOK'S NOTES: Don't be put off by the list of ingredients as it's all super easy to assemble. Leave something out if necessary but make this regardless. Don't stress if you are unable to elevate the chicken when cooking as it will still work fine. Chicken may be made ahead of time, sliced and tossed through pan juices to keep it moist then it can be reheated in the oven. Chicken is simply delicious in pita or similar but is equally wonderful as a Friday night meal. Marinade could be used on chicken pieces too - the coconut cream works wonders in tenderizing chicken - though you will increase cooking time.