Charred chicken cutlets with kampot pepper

Martini suggests serving this grilled chicken with a grain-style salad.
Martini suggests serving this grilled chicken with a grain-style salad. Photo: William Meppem
Difficulty
Easy
Dietary
Gluten-free

Kampot red pepper (a Cambodian specialty) has a lovely, fruity, sweet aroma and hot flavour that beautifully enhances charred chicken, as do cumin, pepper, turmeric and lemon – one of my favourite combinations. Finishing the dish with a couple of tablespoons of brown butter is simply glorious, as the cooking juices from the chicken and the butter mingle to make the tastiest sauce. Grilling a halved lemon to create grill marks makes for a fetching, and useful garnish.

Ingredients

8 chicken cutlets, skin on

3 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp kampot red pepper (or white peppercorns)

4 garlic cloves

1 bird's-eye chilli

1 tbsp salt flakes, plus extra

2 tsp freshly grated turmeric (or 1 tsp ground turmeric)

zest and juice of 1 lemon

100g butter

2 fresh bay leaves

Method

1. Working from the underside of the chicken cutlets, run a knife along the side of each thigh bone, making incisions about 1cm deep into the meat. This will help the marinade penetrate and ensure quicker and more even cooking.

2. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the cumin and peppercorns to a rough powder and transfer to a bowl. Add the garlic, chilli and salt to the mortar and crush to a paste, then return the ground pepper and cumin. Add the turmeric and grind to combine, then grind in the lemon juice and zest.

3. Combine the chicken and marinade in a bowl, tossing well to coat, then stand at room temperature for 1 hour. 

4. When ready to cook, heat a barbecue until medium-hot.

5. Grill the chicken, skin-side down, for 8 minutes to sear well and char, then flip and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer to a platter and rest for 5 minutes.

6. While the chicken rests, add the butter and bay leaves to a small saucepan over high heat. Season with salt and cook for about 4 minutes until the butter browns and develops a nutty aroma.

7. Spoon the butter over the chicken, along with the bay leaves, and serve with a grain salad or grilled vegetables and rice.

Serving suggestion: Serve with an ancient grain-style salad studded with barberries or pomegranate seeds, or with grilled vegetables and rice.