Every time I open Facebook, some food video or the other pops up on my timeline. Inevitably, it features bacon. I love Bacon, my husband loves Bacon, I don’t know many people who don’t love bacon, so I get it.
But you know what doesn’t feature on any of these videos? Spice! Most of these videos marinate the meat in salt and pepper – one of my pet peeves – or it will be overly doused in cheese. Which is why, when I was thinking of an ingredient from B, Bacon came to my mind and I decided to make Bacon wrapped Atheli Chicken.
For the non Gujarati speakers reading this, Atheli basically means marinated. Most caterers make an ‘Atheli Marghi’ where the chicken is marinated in a variety of spices and then cooked on a slow flame in its own juices. Some use yogurt for the marination, some don’t and some make it with a gravy while others top it with Salli. It is one of the Parsi recipes where the taste changes every time it is made.
To my knowledge, Atheli Marghi hasn’t ever been made in an oven but this worked out really well in this instance. One needs to be careful to give the chicken the time to cook through inside (especially when using chicken legs) and not letting the bacon burn by keeping the temperature high.
I hope you enjoy this Parsi rendition of bacon wrapped chicken and will give it a go in your home too – make for a great starter alternative to Chicken Farcha, that’s for sure!
Bacon Wrapped Atheli Chicken
- 4 chicken legs, cut into 3 pieces
- 4 tbsp ghee
- 2 tsp dhansak masala
- 2 tsp Parsi sambhar masala
- 2 tsp salt
- 12 streaky bacon slices
- Clean the chicken removing the skin and making cuts in the chicken. Mix together the ghee, salt and spices and rub well on the chicken. Allow to marinate for at least an hour, preferably two.
- Preheat the oven at 200 degrees for at least 20 minutes.
- Once marinated, take each piece of the chicken and wrap it with the streaky bacon. Other cuts of bacon don't have as much fat and hence I would suggest sticking with the streaky variety. If the bacon is too thin in width, you can use two slices instead of one - more bacon the better!
- Place all the chicken on a greaseproof tray, reduce oven temperature to 160 degrees and bake for about 20 - 25 minutes. At this point, drain out the baking liquid, turn the chicken and bake for a further 20 minutes or so, depending on the doneness. You want a skewer to go straight through without any resistance.
- Once the chicken is cooked, drain out the liquid again, change your oven settings to grill and grill for 5 - 10 minutes until the bacon has browned up on all sides.
- Take all the oven juices and reduce in a pan on high flame until it is thick and a bit sticky. If needed, add in a bit more ghee to add the creaminess.
- Serve the chicken hot out of the oven with the pan juices on the side or drizzled on top of the chicken.
- You may use chicken breasts instead of the legs but then please ensure you amend the oven timings and temperature accordingly. You may also need to flatten the chicken breasts a bit.