West Indies-Inspired Marinade

We love this West Indies-inspired spice mix for it’s ability to transform hum drum everyday broiled chicken into something juicy and intensely spiced (but not spicy!). The warm, zesty aroma always picks me up after a busy day on the run and it gets my mind thinking about lazy barbeques, the beach and summer vacations. Anything that can accomplish that  gets a big gold star in my book and the fact that both my little guys happily scarf up these flavors is like the icing on the cake.

Anything you might be inspired to grill up with this mix will make a great filling for a taco or a sandwich, and is guaranteed to kick up a boring plate of rice and beans (or Orlando Cepeda’s famous Caribbean Cha Cha Bowls). I  can also recommend this spice mix as a fun mini cooking project to do with little hands. Kids will enjoy seeing the whole spices (and smelling everything of course) as well as getting into the act with measuring, grinding and marinating.

West Indies-Inspired Marinade

To save time, you could use all pre-ground spices or make up a big jar of the mix, but the flavors will be extra special if you start from whole and grind them when you need them.

In a coffee or spice grinder, grind to a fine powder:

  • 1.5 tsp whole allspice
  • 1 tsp whole coriander
  • 1 tsp whole cumin
  • 1/2 tsp peppercorns
  • fresh thyme (leaves from about 2 sprigs), or 1 tsp ground
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbl ground paprika (sweet, smoked or a combination)
  • 1.5 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • Optional: If you’re a chile-head like Simran, add cayenne, crushed red pepper flakes or chili powder to taste.

To the ground spices add:

  • Juice of 1 lemon or lime
  • 3 TBL of olive oil
  • 1 TBL of brown sugar or honey

This little guy hasn't mastered utensils yet, but he gives a wee thumbs up for this marinade.

You might also like: Vij’s Ground Fennel Seed Curry, Spiced-Up Orange Baby Foods, Spice Up Your Meals for Good Health, Indonesian Chilli Sambal, Teriyaki on Everything, Caribbean Cha Cha Bowls

Icky Sticky Chicken Wings

I found this recipe for Spicy Lime and Honey wings on Joelen’s Blog.  If I lived in the same town as Joelen, I am sure I would find a way to invite Ria and myself over.

We modified the recipe a little bit and loved it.  Here’s our adaptation of her adaptation of a Guy Fieri recipe. The toughest part is juicing the limes.  If in a pinch (as most moms sometimes are), feel free to use the pre-juiced limes/lemons available at the store.  Not ideal but it works to speed things up.  You can broil the wings vs. using the grill as well.  Of course, the chili can be omitted or reduced to make it kid-friendly.

Fire up the grill and get those fingers messy!

Icky Sticky Chicken Wings

3 pounds chicken wings (I used only drummettes – both hubby and kid prefer)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For sauce:
1 tsp grated lime zest

3/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup honey

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp  Sriracha sauce (optional or reduce amount)

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1) Preheat the oven to 350F. Toss the wings in a bowl with salt, pepper, minced garlic and oil. Arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer. Cook until just cooked through, about 30 minutes.
2) Combine the lime zest and juice, honey, cumin, Sriracha, salt and and pepper in a bowl. Pour over the warm wings as soon as removed from oven and let marinate at least 30 minutes. (I skipped the marinating part – everyone was starving – but I am sure it adds a ton more flavor)
3) Preheat grill to high. Grill the wings until charred as much or as little as you like, 10 to 15 minutes, turning as needed.  (Note:  Since there is honey in the marinade, the sugar will burn and char quickly.  So keep a close eye on the wings as you grill them and turn frequently)
4) Transfer the marinade to a saucepan and cook until slightly thick, about 8 minutes. Drizzle the wings with the sauce right as you take them off the grill.

*If you don’t have a grill, you can use a grill pan indoors, or broil on high heat frequently turning over to get even char on the wings.