(from the Good Food Diet)
If you long for food with taste - real taste - these Portuguese Chicken Bites served on a bed of greens are for you. Think healthy chicken breast fillets. Smell garlic, lemon, paprika and freshly ground black pepper. See the robust dish served with shiny black olives and red cherry tomatoes. Taste the feast of flavours.
Best of all, you can prepare this dish in 15 minutes flat. Perfect for lunch boxes and equally great for party platters.
Portuguese Chicken Bites are:
- dairy-free and
4 skinless chicken breast fillets (400 g – 500 g)
30 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
10 ml (2 tsp) paprika
0,5 ml (1/8 tsp) cayenne pepper (this will just add a mild burn – add cayenne pepper according to your own taste preference)
5 ml (1 tsp) dried origanum or dried marjoram or dried parsley
15 ml (1 tbsp) freshly crushed garlic
salt and milled black pepper to taste
5 ml (1 tsp) lemon juice
greens e.g. rocket, baby spinach, watercress to serve
lemon wedges, black olives and cherry tomatoes to serve
Step 1: Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut each fillet into 12 – 15 shortish strips. Don’t worry about cutting in the same direction. The length and shape of strips won’t be even – this is fine.
Step 2: Heat oil in a large frying pan or wok. Add paprika, cayenne pepper and dried herbs. Stir for 10 seconds.
Step 3: Add chicken strips and garlic. Stir-fry for a few minutes until just cooked. Remove from heat.
Step 4: Season with salt and generously with black pepper. Add lemon juice and stir through. Serve hot or at room temperature on greens, together with lemon wedges, black olives and baby tomatoes. (Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main course.)
Serve Portuguese Chicken Bites on Lemon Couscous: combine equal quantities of uncooked couscous and boiling water in a wide bowl. Add a splash of olive oil, stir well, cover and leave for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Stir in freshly squeezed lemon juice and finely grated lemon rind to taste. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add more olive oil if need be – the couscous should be moist. Optional: add chopped spring onion or chives.
To burn or not to burn: peri-peri, cayenne pepper or paprika?
People often ask me whether paprika burns. The answer is no. The paprika that we buy here in South Africa is heat-free. (If you buy a Hungarian or Spanish paprika, you may experience some burning.)
Paprika is made from dried, ground red sweet peppers (also called salad peppers or bell peppers – we get them in green, yellow, orange, red and even purple). Paprika is used only for colour and flavour and therefore features in much larger quantities in a recipe than cayenne pepper or peri-peri.
Should you want to turn on the heat though, reach for the cayenne pepper (also called red pepper) and the peri-peri as these are made from fiery red chillies.
Both sweet peppers and chillies belong to the Capsicum family. The potent compound causing the burning sensation, capsaicin, is found in chillies, but not in sweet peppers. Capsaicin increases the body’s metabolic rate, stimulates blood flow and sweating and makes one feel warm. An interesting fact is that birds are not affected by capsaicin, but mammals are, so beware!
The Scoville scale is used to measure the perceived heat of chillies. And just to set your mind at ease, the sweet pepper used for making paprika measures 0 on the Scoville scale.
Cayenne pepper is made from a variety of dried, ground red chillies. It is hot and pungent and clocks in at 30 000 – 50 000 Scoville units. But if you are a real chilli junkie, head straight for the peri-peri – it is made of the blazing-hot African bird’s eye chilli, registering a whopping 50 000 – 175 000 Scoville units. Pure dynamite and quite an achievement for a chilli that is a mere 25 mm long.
My advice to anyone venturing out into the world of chillies is to stick to the only red-hot rule: “Remember, you can always add more”.
GOOD FOOD DIET COOKING CLASSES AND CONSULTATIONS!!
With Dalene's Good Food Diet recipes you can enjoy a healthy lifestyle without sacrificing the pleasures of delicious food. Perfect for those who want to control their health or dietary conditions such as blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, overweight, food allergies and intolerances.
Good Food Diet recipes are wellness recipes, developed for busy people on the go. They are quick, easy, foolproof… and scrumptious! Use them for your family's daily meals and for entertaining.
Want to attend a Good Food Diet wellness cooking class in Cape Town?
Or a Good Food Diet gluten-free cooking class in Cape Town?
Contact Dalene at
or on 021 913 4457 or 082 562 9787.