If you’ve ever taken a nice, big bite out of something good ‘n spicy, and then found yourself quickly reaching for something (anything!) to temper some of that heat, then you’ve experienced first-hand how important this nifty little concept of “balance” is.
I have to admit that now, as an adult, I’m a bit of a heat seeker, a lover of things on the spicy side; but that being said, it doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate something to balance out the flames, so to speak, as my mouth begins to tingle and my eyes start to mildly well up.
And just as a tantalizing plateful of delicious, crispy hot wings benefits immensely from the companionship of a cool and creamy dip to plunge those amazingly delicious-yet-spicy wings into, so too can the “heat” found in life benefit from the cooling effects of patience, humility, and kind disposition.
And let me tell you, nowhere can one learn more about this concept, and actually practice the art of balancing out some of life’s heat with some love, than on the spectacularly infamous freeways of Los Angeles.
The range of spicy emotions that one experiences daily on these freeways is of such staggering proportion, that unless you can find a way of introducing at least small pinches of calming and soothing “coolness” into them, you’ll be finding yourself saddled with a whole host of health issues—high blood pressure, for starters.
And so I consider the freeways of L.A. to be my “classroom”, a golden opportunity to practice the art of balancing the frustration with the tempering effects of patience, conscious relaxation, and quiet peace.
Well…as much as I can, anyway.
Let’s consider me as a “work in progress” in that particular setting.
The truth is, life sure can throw a lot of “heat” our way from time to time, in many areas; and unfortunately, it doesn’t always come served up with a side of love and gentleness on the same plate to defuse things.
We have to be aware and conscious enough of that need ourselves, and make the effort to come equipped with quantities enough to calm and cool things when the pressure’s on.
Otherwise, things may just get a little more uncomfortable than they have to.
So while “heat” may definitely make things a little more vibrant and interesting, without the deliciously cooling and tempering effects of mercy, love, patience, and kindness, we may find ourselves overwhelmed with too much of one thing and not enough of another.
Balance is the name of the game.
So the next time you’re about to partake in a savory and scrumptious platter of well-seasoned hot wings, or you’re finding yourself knee-deep in a situation where the heat level could begin to rise, have a little something cooling prepared in order to offer yourself the gift of comforting balance, so that you can taste and enjoy fully, without excessive pain or discomfort, all the flavors that both food and life provide you with.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Crispy-Baked Chicken Wings Tandoori-Style with Cool Minted Yogurt Dipping Sauce
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 2-4
• 1 – 1 ½ pounds chicken drumettes and/or wings
• Black pepper
• 1 ½ teaspoons paprika (not hot)
• 1 teaspoon, heaping, garam masala
• ½ teaspoon turmeric
• ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
• ½ teaspoon ground cumin
• Pinch or two cayenne pepper
• ½ cup full-fat, plain, Greek yogurt
• 2 teaspoons lemon juice
• 3 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• ½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
• Dash or two (or more!!) Sriracha, depending on your desired level of spiciness
• Cilantro leaves, for garnish
• Cool Minted Yogurt Dipping Sauce (recipe below)
-To a large bowl, add the chicken drumettes/wings, and pat them dry with a paper towel.
-Add to them ½ teaspoon of the salt, ¼ teaspoon of the black pepper, the paprika, garam masala, turmeric, coriander, cumin, and cayenne, and using your hands, mix/rub the spices into the chicken; set aside for a moment.
-In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, and sriracha, and mix to blend; pour this mixture over the chicken, rubbing it into the chicken, and allow it to marinate for at least 2 hours, up to overnight.
-When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 450°; line a baking sheet with foil, and place a wire rack over the baking sheet.
-Remove the chicken from the yogurt marinade, and allow the excess to drip off; place the wings onto the wire rack, and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, until slightly charred and crisp.
-Serve garnished with a some cilantro leaves, and the Cool Minted Yogurt Dipping Sauce on the side.
Cool Minted Yogurt Dipping Sauce Ingredients:
• 1 cup full-fat, plain, Greek yogurt
• 2 small cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
• ½ teaspoon lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon, heaping, chopped fresh mint
-Add all of the ingredients up to and including the mint to a small bowl, and add in a couple of good pinches or salt (however much you desire for flavor); mix with a fork, and use immediately, or keep covered and in the fridge until ready to use.