This is the week when I try out made up chicken wings recipes from cuisines around the world. I recently made my first ever batch of za'atar, a middle eastern spice blend that commonly has dried mint, sumac and sesame seeds in. I swapped out the sesame seeds for almond meal and adjusted the flavours till I got the balance of fresh, slightly tart and definitely middle eastern I was after. The accompanying dip is one I've made many times - this time however, I made it in my mortar and pestle which results in a thicker, richer dip not watered down by the sharp blades of my blender. Served with arabic flat bread and veggies, it made a great dinner —Kitchen Butterfly
10 flats & drumettes
Za'atar wings with herbed yogurt dip
5 teaspoons sumac
4 teaspoons almond meal, gently toasted or left raw
2 teaspoons dried mint
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup thick greek/turkish yogurt
2 teaspoons za'atar (and more to top)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cardamom powder (or crushed seeds of 12 pods)
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons (nut) honey (I used a homemade hazelnut honey)
5 wings, mine were tipless (I cut into flats and drumettes, making 10 pieces)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Herbed yogurt dip
50 g fresh coriander leaves, washed and roughly chopped
25 g fresh mint leaves, washed and roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic, without skin
1 small green chili pepper, snipped with kitchen scissors
1 -2 teaspoons of caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt and more to taste
Enough natural yogurt (I used Turkish yogurt, similar to Greek yogurt) to form a thick dip
TO MAKE ZA'ATAR, combine the sumac, almond meal, dried mint and dried thyme in a spice grinder and blitz till finer. Store in an airtight jar or refrigerate.
TO MAKE ZA'ATAR WINGS, combine the marinade ingredients in a large bowl- yogurt, za'atar, garlic and onion powders, cardamom, salt, olive oil and honey. Whisk and check for salt, adjusting as necessary
Gently poke the wings with the tip of a sharp knife, making little slits so the marinade can find nooks to hide itself.
Put the chicken pieces into the marinade and toss well so that all pieces are coated. I prefer to use a long, shallow container because I can distribute the marinade evenly and ensure each piece is coated.
Leave to marinate in the refrigerator at least 4 hours, or overnight
To cook, remove chicken from marinade and discard marinade. Place on a tray and roast/bake in the centre of a (pre-heated) oven at 250 degrees centigrade for 25 - 30 minutes until cooked. My pieces didn't darken considerably but I leave it up to you
Sprinkle a touch of za' atar before serving, if you like. Enjoy regardless.
Herbed yogurt dip
In a mortar, combine all the ingredients except the yogurt. Pound till leaves darken and ingredients form a wet paste.
Stir with a spoon/pound further to ensure no large lumps of chili remain. Then add the yogurt and combine well to your required thickness. Check for salt and sugar (yes, sugar) and adjust to your taste.
For the first 9 years of my life I hated food and really loved sugar till Wimpy (British Fast Food chain) changed my life! These days, all grown up, I've junked junk food and spend my days and nights on a quest - to find and share the sweet, sweet nectar that's food in The #NewNigerianKitchen!
Dreaming, cooking, eating and writing...about and adoring a strong food community that's big and bold enough to embrace the world's diverse cuisines - I'm passionate about celebrating Nigerian cuisine in its entirety.
Why do I love food so? It is forgiving. Make a recipe. Have it go bad....but wake up tomorrow and you can have another go at succeeding! Only with food!