So, here we are. Today is day something of lockdown. No-one knows. Time has ceased to have any meaning whatsoever. Before, we had such concepts as “Tuesday”, “next week”, and “months”. Now, all we have is “in a bit”, “eons”, and “bloody hell, was that *yesterday*???”. As a unintended consequence of being confined to our own homes, the timeline has been broken beyond any hope of redemption. We may as well just put our calendars in the bin – they have no use now – unless you are creative enough to think of a alternate use for them. You could, if you have dice and counters, use the 2020 calendar as a board game! Imagine. Roll six. Hurrah! You’ve landed on the 23rd of May. Roll again. Oh no! Bank Holiday Monday – go directly to prison.
With the two parallel changes to our lives that we have all encountered in the last few weeks – a) a large increase in the amount of free time we have, and b) a large decrease in things to do with our free time, a lot of people have taken this crisis as an opportunity to learn a new skill, read some books or finally get round to watching “Tiger Guy” on the Netflicks. Me? Well, thanks to the takeaways being shut and my aversion to delivery websites, I’m down a jeans size – but it’s mainly been XBox and playing games on my phone if I’m honest. That, and a newly found appreciation for Challenge TV. However, there are only so many old episodes of The Chase you can sit through before you start to lose any semblance of reality – so I have decided to start updating this website again.
Coming up over the next whenever, I’ll be reviewing kebabs etc. that you, the discerning internet, can cook at home. Today is the turn of the “Chicken King Kebab” from Aldi.
Apparently, this came out last year to critical social media acclaim – unfortunately, this had completely passed me by at the time. However, a friend was kind enough to tag me in on this post and I thought to myself “why not”.
The… Good Housekeeping Institute? Gotta be honest, of all the bodies that would hand out kebab awards, I would never have included the Good Housekeeping Institute. My mum used to get the magazine – from memory it was all knitting patterns and adverts for wallpaper – but hey, we’re in the future now, we play by future rules, and if the GHI want to hand out kebab awards as well as ideas to spruce up your drab looking skirting boards, they can be my guest.
So off to Aldi’s I went. In accordance with government edicts I came straight home, no fannying about, and unboxed this beast.
Flipping to the back of the packet, I am informed that this is “Chicken Drum and Thigh Meat Pieces in a Lemon and Herb Peri Peri Marinade on Wooden Skewers”, takes 95 minutes in the oven, and under no circumstances should this be reheated. This poses me with an immediate problem – I’m just one guy, who wants to exit lockdown with a smaller waistline than the waistline I had when I entered lockdown, and this is nine hundred and twenty-four grams of chicken kebab. How on earth am I going to get through this??? In the end, I took the decision to eat a quarter of it, cutting some of the cooked kebab from the side and ends, which rather fortuitously means that we can get a side view of the cooked product:
Look at that. This, to me, is a thing of intense beauty. As you can see from the photo, the marinade is quite generous, and goes all the way through the kebab. We can also see that this overall product was made by compressing quite a lot of chicken thighs and leg pieces together quite compactly. The result: a juicy meal which falls off the roasting dish in an authentic kebab shop manner:
Chicken kebab pieces a la takeaway!
“OK, it looks good, but what about the taste?”
YEAH I’M GETTING TO THAT
Texture-wise, this is chewy and gooey. The chicken leg is a tougher, juicier cut than chicken boob, but thanks to the permeating marinade, the cooked meat isn’t all that tough at all – this won’t trouble you if you rely on Fixadent. The flavour’s interesting – the marinade is certainly prominent, but it’s not overwhelming – you get a sharp lemon, garlic and herb kick, but the chicken thigh comes through on the back of it. The box did say “lemon and herb peri peri marinade” – so what about the spice? It’s delicate, shall we say, to the point of being really subtle – it’s there, but you only really notice it on the aftertaste – it’s more peppery than out and out chilli flavour.
All in all, really good. Admittedly, my experience with home-cook kebabs is that they are awful – though in fairness, the only one’s I’ve ever really had have been the microwavable ones and the dreadful stuff out of Farmfoods. My only minor issue here is the size of the thing – if you’re cooking for a household, great – if you’re cooking for one, then I’ve got some great news – you’ll be eating cold chicken kebab for a few days. That said, if it wasn’t massive, then it wouldn’t be a king kebab, would it?
No surprise here given that this is made from chicken leg pieces, but you get a lot of juice running off this once it’s out of the oven. Tempted to use it as stock and make kebab soup – maybe I will get a skill out of lockdown after all!
Aldi – Oakhurst Chicken King Kebab – comes in Peri Peri (hot) and Lemon and Herb Peri Peri (mild)
£4.99 for nearly a kilogram of clucky goodness.