Every boy & Every girl….Spice up your Life!
Yup. Showing my age with a Spice Girls reference. Well played me.
…..There is however an interesting nutritional reason to be bringing up the topic of spicy food. When you eat your body revs up it’s engines and gets things moving to digest the food you’ve just consumed. The muscles of your gastro-intestinal tract speed up their contractions, your cells secrete digestive juices and enzymes and some of your nutrients are absorbed by active transport to be used by your body. These processes all require energy. This is known as the thermic effect of food (TEF). Some foods use more energy to process and this increases their thermic effect. Chilli, or more precisely capsaicin which is the active ingredient in chilli, is one such food.
Studies have shown that foods containing chilli can have an effect on diet induced thermogenesis and therefore can increase your metabolic rate (which is basically how much energy your body uses to function). The theory is if your body is using more energy to digest its food then this will have supportive effect on weight management. Chilli also has the added bonus of increasing the feeling of satiety which means that you will feel fuller for longer.
There have been some recent smaller studies examining the effect of combined consumption of capsaicin and medium chain triglycerides (coconut oil, palm kernel oil & smaller amounts in butter and other dairy foods) on the thermic effect of food that show promising results in regards to metabolic rate but more research is needed to confirm these.
So what is the bottom line for actual human beings who eat actual food and aren’t too hung up on the sciencey bits and pieces? While the studies show that there is an increase in the thermic effect of chilli and therefore metabolism the numbers aren’t astronomical. If chilli isn’t your thing then you aren’t going to be missing out on the one nutrient to rule them all. If chilli is your thing though, the benefits are certainly enough to pop a few more spicy dishes on the menu. The thing with healthy eating and maintaining your weight isn’t so much about the next great super nutrient but more about your ability to consistently maintain your intake and make healthy choices. If your tastebuds give a round of applause each time they come into contact with a certain food then you are much more likely to put that food on high dietary rotation. Think bigger picture (whole diet) not single food.
This weeks recipe looks a little complicated and ingredient heavy but once everything is chopped and ready to go the actual time it takes to put together is quite speedy. If you pre-make your nuts in bulk then the actual cooking time is really the time it takes for the chook to go all toasty brown and crispy.
The amount of chilli you put in is up to you and your taste buds….and of course your dining companions. When making this for the whole family I will halve the marinade and only use it for the grown ups chicken…just seasoning the kids in the flour mixture. I also will leave some of the peanuts plain and scatter those on their plates instead.
The coleslaw gives a nice cooling counter to the fiery chicken and nuts making this a perfectly balanced feast.
- Prep Time : 3h 00 min
- Cook Time : 45 minutes
- Yield : 4
- Chicken Drumsticks - 8, skin off
- White flour (or rice flour for those with gluten issues) - 1/2 cup, well season with salt and pepper
- Chicken Marinade
- Greek Yoghurt - 1 cup
- Garlic - 2 cloves, crushed
- Frank's red hot sauce (or any other chilli sauce...sriracha is good). - Anywhere from 2 tbsp to 1/4 cup depending on how spicy you like it
- Cabbage - 1/4 head, finely sliced
- Green Apple - 1, cored and sliced into matchsticks
- European parsley - 1/2 cup, coarsely chopped
- Greek yoghurt - 1/2 cup
- Lemon - Juice of 1
- Spiced Peanuts
- Egg white - 1
- Peanuts - 3/4 cup
- Cajun spice mix - 1/4 cup
- Cajun Spice mix
- Smoked paprika - 1 tbsp
- Cayenne pepper - 1 tsp
- Black pepper - 1 tsp
- Salt - 1 tsp
- Dried oregano - 1 tsp
- Dried thyme - 1 tsp
- Garlic powder - 1 tsp
In a large ceramic dish combine the first amount of Greek yoghurt (1 cup), the crushed garlic and whichever chilli sauce you can get your hands on. I like Frank's RedHot - the original basis of Buffalo hot wings - but if you can't locate Frank any hot chilli sauce will substitute. Pop your skinless chicken drumsticks into the marinade, stir to combine and then cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
Meanwhile, heat your oven to 180°C. In a medium sized bowl whip the egg white until light and fluffy. Add the cajun spice mix and stir to combine (you can either use a store bought mix or use the ingredients above to make your own....just combine them all together. There will be some leftover if you want to double the peanuts in the recipe and store some for the next time). Add the peanuts and mix to coat in the egg white mixture. Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread the nuts onto the tray in one layer. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Leave the oven on for the drumsticks.
Place the season flour onto a plate. Take each drumstick out of the marinade (leaving some of the yoghurt mixture on the outside of the chicken) and dredge through the seasoned flour to coat. Place each drumstick into a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, turning halfway through, until golden brown and crispy.
Meanwhile combine the second amount of Greek yoghurt and the lemon juice in a medium sized bowl and then add the remaining coleslaw ingredients (cabbage, apple & parsley) and use your clean hands to mix together.
To serve divide the coleslaw between 4 plates. Scatter the cajun spiced peanuts over the coleslaw. Top each plate with 2 spicy chicken drumsticks.