Smoked Paprika and Thai Chili Chicken Kebobs with Turmeric Rice Recipe

It might be the best part of summer but, thanks to mini-indoor grills, we can grill all year long. Or at least I do. I love kebobs because they’re not only low in fat they’re also are a vehicle for a wide variety of flavors. They can be Asian-inspired and coated in 5-spice powder or they can be filled with the lovely curry and ginger flavors of India. My favorite combinations, though, are spices like hot smoked paprika, cumin and cayenne, along with cilantro and lime.And beautiful grilled chicken on skewers is perfect with a bright and lively turmeric rice – or what I call “saffron rice for the fiscally challenged.” While turmeric doesn’t pack the intensity of saffron’s flavor, you do get gorgeous color. And you get it without sacrificing your credit limit in the process. Let’s face it, as wonderful as saffron is, it costs thousands of dollars a pound. That makes it a little cost prohibitive, because a one-ounce container costs around $100.00. Sure, not many people buy it in that large a quantity, but still turmeric hurts much less.Finished smoked Paprika and Thai Chili Chicken Kebobs with Turmeric Rice

Another great thing about this meal is that it comes together quickly. The marinade takes a few seconds to blend and then it just needs to sit in the refrigerator for an hour or so with the chicken. And the rice can be cooked while the chicken marinades in the bright and spicy mixture.

So, even though the weather is cold and dreary, invite some friends over for dinner. They’ll be expecting comfort food like a soup or stew, but spicy chicken and bright peppers on a skewer will bring back memories of summer.

Crank some Beach Boys or the Ventures and the metamorphosis from December to June will be complete.

Smoked Paprika and Thai Chili Chicken Kebobs

Prep Time:25 minutes
Cook time:30 minutes
YieldsServes 4.

Nutrition facts:
170 calories,
8 grams fat

Ready to start check out the main ingredients


  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon of hot smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon of red chili flakes*
  • ¼ cup of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 scallion
  • 1 Thai chili pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 large chicken breasts, cut into 2 x 1 inch pieces
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
  • 2 onions, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces


  • Metal or wooden skewers (If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for a half and hour before grilling.)
  • A grill


Results of blending from the instructions part.

Combine the olive oil, lime juice, hot paprika, cumin, cayenne, chili flakes, cilantro, scallion, Thai pepper, salt and black pepper in a blender or food processor.

Chop the chicken into 1-inch cubes and discard any fat. Place the chicken in a large, resealable plastic bag with the marinade. Refrigerate for an hour or as long as overnight.

Preheat grill and thread chicken on a skewer along with your favorite vegetables. I like red pepper and onion, but other options are: zucchini, mushrooms, summer squash and cherry tomatoes. Grill the kabobs until chicken is done, about 10-15 minutes and flipping once halfway through.

Turmeric Rice

Easy and healthy food.


  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 cup of basmati or jasmine rice
  • 2 cups of chicken broth (if you use low sodium broth, don’t forget to season your liquid)
  • 1 ½ heaping teaspoons of turmeric


In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat and add the rice. Stir the rice until it becomes translucent, approximately 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and turmeric, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes and then turn the heat off and let sit for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve with the chicken skewers.

 *Speaking of being fiscally conservative, it’s really worth it to make your own chili flakes. A small bottle of them can cost up to 5 dollars, but making them yourself will set you back less than a dollar for the same amount. In the summer I stock up at the farmers market from a woman who runs a vegetable stand. I jokingly refer to her as my “hot pepper lady,” because she has such a large variety of peppers. However,  it’s not the funniest joke in the world (in fact, it’s not even really a joke) so I vow to give her a better nickname next summer. But that’s beside the point.

 The point is that every summer I buy a large box of hot peppers and and I dry them in the oven. Then I have hot pepper flakes for the next 12 months, at a fraction of the cost of store bought. Also, I just break up the dried peppers along with the seeds so I’m getting an even bigger bang-for-my-fraction-of-a-buck price. Although you may want to divide the different types of peppers into different jars. I enjoy the whimsical idea of dropping a dried habanero in a dish with the same reckless abandon that I would a dried jalapeno, but it’s not always the cleverest thing to do.

Oh, and that reminds me of something else – wash your hands after handling these dried peppers the same way that you would a fresh hot pepper. I speak with the voice of experience on that particular life lesson.

Homemade Dried Chili Flakes

A mix of:

  • Jalapenos
  • Habaneros
  • Red Chilies

 Or just one type of hot pepper.


Preheat the oven to the lowest setting, either 150 degrees or 200 degrees. Wash and dry the hot peppers very well. Cut the top off of the peppers and cut them in half vertically. Bake for 1 hour, or until the peppers are brittle and crumble easily. Store in a jar.

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