Flavorful grilled chicken cools with its spicy heat

June 14, 1995|By Charlotte Balcomb Lane | Charlotte Balcomb Lane,Knight-Ridder News Service

Curry Barbecued Chicken with Sizzling Apricot Sauce can help you beat the summer heat in two ways. First, it's spicy, and eating spicy food in the summer can actually make you feel cooler. Asian cooks have known this for generations: Fiery spices cause the body to perspire and the evaporation creates a cooling sensation.

Second, it's easy. Simply sprinkle some chicken tenderloin pieces with a sweet, spicy curry rub and grill them without adding any oil or sauce. Then, top them with an invigorating fruit sauce spiked with hot Chinese mustard. Serve the whole dish over a mound of cooked rice and you can enjoy a low-fat, high carbohydrate meal in minutes. For an extra touch, serve steamed snow peas on the side.

The hot sensation of the Sizzling Apricot Sauce only lasts for seconds, unlike the heat from red or green chilies, which can burn in the mouth for several minutes.

You can get the chicken ready to cook up to 24 hours in advance, but make the sauce at the last minute. Chinese mustard loses its fiery kick if it sits too long.

Curry Barbecued Chicken

With Apricot Sauce

Makes 4 servings

8 chicken tenderloins or tenders (about 3/4 pound)

1 teaspoon mild curry powder

1/8 teaspoon sugar

1 cup apricot nectar

1 tablespoon hot Chinese mustard

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

4 cups cooked, hot rice

Place the chicken tenders in a bowl and sprinkle with the curry powder and the sugar. Toss to coat the chicken evenly. For each serving, thread two chicken tenders on a long metal or bamboo skewer. You can prepare the chicken up to 24 hours before serving but cover and refrigerate until ready to cook. Cook the tenders on a barbecue grill over low heat for 6 minutes. Turn and cook the other side for 5 to 6 minutes longer, or until the chicken is opaque and white and firm to the touch.

To make the sauce, combine the apricot nectar, hot mustard, sugar and soy sauce in a small pan. Stir until well blended. Cook over medium-low heat until the nectar begins to boil. In a small dish, stir together the apple cider vinegar and the cornstarch to make a liquid paste. Stir the cornstarch into the apricot nectar and continue stirring until the liquid boils and thickens, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat.

Divide the rice into four 1-cup servings and arrange one skewer of chicken on top. Drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of the sauce. Serve remaining sauce on the side.

Per serving with rice: Calories, 399; protein, 20 g; carbohydrates, 61.7 g; fat, 7.6 g; cholesterol, 71 mg; sodium, 119 mg

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