Many thanks to all of you who came out to support the American Cancer Society at Passport to Asia. It was a jam-packed evening for the Tasty Pursuits booth, and despite the long day I arrived home at midnight on a high. As I sat on my couch to unwind, I could not help but smile thinking of all the wonderful people who made the evening extra special:
- Ruth and Naoko – My partners in crime, grilling all evening and making the event just plain fun! You probably heard the three of us cracking jokes and laughing from down the hall. (Although, I was told that you could smell our spices and literally followed your nose to the Tasty Pursuits booth!)
- Brenda – How lucky were we to have Brenda from Bread-A as our neighbor, feeding us a never-ending supply of organic vegetarian pastries. Her vanilla cake is just heavenly!
- Dave - For the event photos above, for slipping us cupcakes, chocolates and lobster bisque from The Lobster Place, and for helping us wrap up at the end of the evening. If you want to know the best foodie events to volunteer at, Dave is your guy!
- Jeff - One of the nicest bloggers and foodie extraordinaire who dropped off delicious dishes from vendors all the way on the other side of the event, and brought people over to try our Chicken Skewers with Mango Tamarind Coulis. Talk about two-way deliveries! Keep up with food events on his i8NYC blog.
- Lisa – She really is as sweet as her gourmet artisanal sugars at Chambre de Sucre. It is a good thing she loaded us with samples because I ate some straight out of their bags.
- Alvin – I some how managed to leave the event with more bags than I came with. Thanks to Well Luck Co. for the green tea, tofu and chocolate gold coins.
- Mark – Life is good when you have Rose Crown Rose Tea Lemonade to stay hydrated. Lucky for us, their booth was just across the room from us.
- Winny - For coordinating everything for Tasty Pursuits at the event, and for placing our booth right by Brenda, Dave and Mark!
- Natasha - For photographing the delicious food throughout the evening. You can see how tasty the dishes at Passport to Asia were on Natasha’s photography blog.
- Adorable Little Girl – For being our number one fan at Passport to Asia, and saying that our chicken skewers are even better than egg custard tarts (one of the three pastries I always pick up when I visit Chinatown).
Chicken Skewers with Mango Tamarind Coulis
2 pounds chicken (cut into 1-inch pieces)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon canola oil
3/4 cup yogurt
3 tablespoons water
pinch black pepper
Mix the first 6 ingredients together and marinate overnight. If you are using a gas or charcoal grill, soak barbecue sticks overnight in water. (This prevents the barbecue sticks from burning during grilling. I used the Cuisinart Griddler indoors. It does not have an open flame so I did not need to soak the barbecue sticks. I like to use 4 – 5 inch barbecue sticks to serve these as appetizers.)
Skewer the chicken pieces with the barbecue sticks. Combine the yogurt, water, salt and pepper in a bowl. Dip the chicken part of the barbecue sticks in the yogurt mixture and shake off the excess. Alternatively, you can brush a light coating of the yogurt mixture onto both sides of the chicken.
Grill the chicken until cooked through, approximately 4 – 8 minutes per side. Drizzle the chicken skewers with the Mango Tamarind Coulis.
Mango Tamarind Coulis
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 garlic, chopped
1/2 shallot, chopped
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1 cup mango puree
3 tablespoons palm sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
pinch black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cognac
Soak the tamarind paste in 1 cup water for 2 hours. Set aside.
In a medium sauce pan, heat the canola oil on medium-high heat. Add the garlic and shallot and saute until softened, approximately 1 minute. Add the chili powder and curry powder and saute 30 seconds.
Add the mango puree and the tamarind paste with its soaking water. Whisk to incorporate. At this point you can add more water until the sauce is thick but pourable (it depends on how thick your mango puree is). And the palm sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Continue simmering and mixing the sauce until all of the palm sugar dissolves.
Add the lemon juice and cognac. Mix and remove from the heat.
Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve. The sauce will be thick, so press it through the sieve with a spatula.
Palm sugar has a mellow sweetness. If you do not have palm sugar, use half the amount of granulated sugar.
You can purchase mango puree, or you can make it yourself by blending mangoes with a little water. If you cannot find ripe fresh mangoes, you can hydrate then blend pure dried mangoes (without any added sugar or chemicals) with a little water.