Pardon me for being a little obsessed right now, it’s just that I have spent a week in culinary heaven – Dubai. Known as the United States Of The Middle East, Dubai represents it all. The best of Japanese, Indian, Italian and French, it is no wonder so many celebrity chefs are going there to set up shop. Whether you are here to eat a Wasabi lobster taco at NOBU or a Burger King chicken burger and fries, the chances are that it will never have tasted so good. That is because, in Dubai, food is prepared with all ‘purpose and intention’. Convenient, fast food meals are given as much consideration as the high end equivalents.
Yet with all the variety this country has to offer, the pull for me, is in its own native cuisine – Arabic food. The food is greatly influenced by the Levant and one can expect to find vegetables stuffed with meat,, kebabs crusted with pistachio, dates dipped in chocolate and flaky baklava. The meal is intensely garlicky with underlying notes of saffron and pomegranate and ends on a sweet note with rose scented pastries and gummy dates.
We had many great meals in Dubai, but the one dish in particular that required immediate revisiting was the lemon and garlic chicken wings. I was excited to make this because it was quick and easy, and I could find the ingredients right here in my very own pantry. The chicken was crispy from the outside yet moistly peeled away from the bone. The secret to the dish is in broiling the marinated chicken first and then coating it in a garlic and herb infused oil. Feel free to throw it together with some rice or a crisp salad.
- 2 lbs skinless chicken wings (must remove the skin or it will taste greasy)
- 3 cloves of garlic (2 for the marinade and 1 for the dressing), minced
- ¼ cup of olive oil
- 1 tsp. Black pepper
- Juice of 2 lemons and zest of one (split equally between marinade and dressing)
- Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. crushed chili flakes
1) Marinade for at least 2 hours the chicken wings in garlic, salt and pepper, 3 tbsp. olive oil, lemon juice and zest.
2) Broil until juices run clear when a knife is inserted by the bone – allow the wings to get some charring. Alternatively, cook on the barbeque
3) Heat the remaining oil; add the garlic and chili flakes until the garlic turns golden. Remove from heat. Add the parsley and whisk in the remaining lemon juice. Season with salt
4) Pour the dressing over the chicken and evenly coat the wings. Serve immediately.
Saira Malhotra, is of British –Indian descent and is a chef, food writer and cooking instructor based in New York City. Raised in Hounslow, U.K, or rather ‘Little India’, where the air is aromatic with roasted spices, little did Saira know these moments would follow her from being a student in France and Italy to residing in NYC with her husband and kids and parlay themselves unexpectedly in to a culinary career. She is a graduate of the International Culinary Center in New York City. Come visit her at her food blog: Passport Pantry where she shares approachable and international recipes.