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Everyone loves these tender, tasty, marinated chicken drumsticks. Simple to prepare, good hot or cold, they are also perfect picnic fare.
This is not speedy in terms of marinating and cooking time.
However, the preparation time is brief and your input is minimal.
The enzymes in the yoghurt have a tenderizing effect on the chicken and the mildly spiced marinade keeps the chicken extraordinarily moist and succulent as it cooks.
Yoghurt often curdles when heated but I find the thicker Greek style yoghurt separates less readily.
The marinade may curdle slightly during cooking but don't worry - this does not spoil the dish in any way.
I have used sumac in the marinade but it is optional.
However, it adds such a zesty kick to so many dishes it is worth seeking out.
It is available in most supermarkets and health food stores.
The dried, dark-red sumac berries are finely ground and used extensively in Middle Eastern cooking.
With its mildly astringent lemon flavour it adds colour and interest to so many dishes.
Sprinkle sumac over steamed new potatoes, oven-roasted tomatoes, pilafs, salads and grilled or barbecued beef, lamb or fish.
Spicy yoghurt drumsticks
1kg chicken drumsticks (about 8 or 9)
1 cup Greek style yoghurt
1½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp each paprika, ground cinnamon, sumac (optional)
2 tsp grated or finely chopped root ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ to ½ tsp prepared chilli (from a jar)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
3 Tbsp finely chopped mint leaves
Line a lipped oven tray or roasting dish with non-stick baking paper.
Remove the skin from the drumsticks.
In a bowl mix together the yoghurt, oregano, paprika, cinnamon, sumac, root ginger, garlic, tomato paste, chilli and mint.
Spread this mixture over the chicken drums using a knife or pastry brush.
This is a thick mixture and coats the chicken easily.
Place each drumstick on the lined oven tray, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 12 hours.
The longer it marinates the more tender and tastier it will be.
Remove the chicken from the fridge about an hour before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 190degC.
Bake the chicken for 40-45 minutes without turning until cooked and the yoghurt crust is starting to brown.
To test, cut through the thickest part of the drum with a small knife - the juices should run clear.
Serve with rice or naan bread accompanied by the salad.
Cucumber, feta and mint salad
Alongside the chicken I serve this cool, lemony and slightly crunchy cucumber salad.
The pistachio nuts to use are the plain, raw ones.
If preferred, walnuts or brown-skinned almonds can be substituted.
Feta is salty so be cautious about the amount of extra salt you add.
1 telegraph cucumber (long, tender-skinned cucumber)
½ cup mung beans
zest of one lemon
⅓ cup chopped mint leaves
120g feta cheese, finely chopped
¼ cup shelled pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
mint sprigs to garnish
Trim and peel the cucumber, slice in half lengthways and cut each piece in half again lengthways.
Scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon.
Slice cucumber and drain well on folded paper towels, squeezing gently to remove excess liquid.
If convenient, the cucumber can be prepared an hour or so in advance, wrapped in paper towels and popped back into the fridge to crisp up.
To make the vinaigrette, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and sugar in a small screw-top jar and shake well.
Just before serving, tip the cucumber on to an attractive serving platter or bowl, add the mung beans, lemon zest, mint, feta and pistachios.
Drizzle the dressing over the top and toss gently to combine.
Garnish with mint sprigs.