Chicken Tikka Skewers and a Review of “The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet”

Chicken Tikka SkewersThese moist, succulent chicken skewers owe their tender texture to a spicy yogurt marinade that tastes like it came from an Indian restaurant. Chicken Tikka is traditionally cooked in a tandoor oven, but this recipe works just as well on a grill or under the broiler for an easy appetizer or main course at your next party or barbecue. The recipe comes from “The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet”, by Dr. Sue Shepherd and Dr. Peter Gibson. I highly recommend the book, whether you’re looking for authoritative information on the low-FODMAP diet or you want to expand your collection of suitable recipes.

The first part of the book explains how food can trigger gut symptoms and how to use diet to manage gut disorders such as IBS, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and celiac disease. The authors, two of the world’s leading researchers on fructose, lactose, and wheat intolerances, were instrumental in developing the low-FODMAP diet, the first diet to successfully use food to treat gut disorders. This is the North American edition of their earlier book “Food Intolerance Management Plan”, with minor additions and a new layout. The book has everything you need to successfully manage your gut issues including foods to avoid, how to test what you can tolerate, menu plans and how to tailor the diet for special groups such as vegetarians, vegans, diabetics, celiacs, IBD sufferers, and children.

I’ve used the older edition since it came out a few years ago. Until now, it was hard to get a copy of the book if you lived outside Australia. It cost me over $100 to have the book shipped to the U.S., but it was worth every penny because of the practical, easy to understand information it contains. It answers many of the questions I’ve been asked since I started this blog, including whether tomato paste is allowed on the diet. It is, as long as you treat it like a fruit and don’t eat more than 3 tablespoons (45 ml). The great news is that the new edition is much easier to use than the older one, with reorganized charts, a more compact layout and smaller pages for easier handling. This is a must-have book if you or anyone you know is dealing with a gut disorder.

Even if you’ve memorized the food lists and read all the research papers on fructose malabsorption and the Low-FODMAP diet, the book is worth buying for the 80-plus recipes in the second half. I sampled as many of them as I could this week and loved them all. The carrot cake and the beef korma were amazing, but the chicken tikka skewers won the vote for family favorite, along with the garden salad vinaigrette, made with garlic-infused olive oil, lemon juice, a touch of brown sugar and a dash of salt. I’m looking forward to trying many more of the recipes.

Chicken Tikka Skewers

Serves 6, adapted from “The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet”

3/4 cup (180 ml) Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon (15 ml) finely grated ginger root
1 tablespoon (15 ml) garam masala
2 teaspoons (10 ml) turmeric
1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) ground coriander
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon (1.25 to 2.5 ml) chili powder, to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
2 1/2 pounds (1.2 kg) boneless, skinless chicken breast, 3/4-inch (2 cm) cubes
18 skewers

In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, ginger root, garam masala, turmeric, cumin, coriander, and chili. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then add the cubed chicken and stir until it’s evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water while the chicken is marinating. Otherwise they will burn when you cook the chicken.

Preheat oven broiler or gas grill. Heat on medium if using a grill. Thread the chicken on the skewers. If you’re using the broiler, place the chicken skewers on a broiler pan or baking sheet. If you’re using the grill, lightly coat the grate with oil and cook the chicken over direct heat. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown and just cooked through. Serve with salad.