When I saw this recipe for Tamal Chicken Wings in Sunset's Great Outdoors Cookbook, I couldn't wait try it. The lemongrass, turmeric, garlic, cilantro rub called to me, and luckily the chicken was super easy to cook on our backyard grill (and I think this chicken would be great to feed a crowd). My whole family scarfed down the flavorful, juicy wings with smiles on their faces.

Have you cooked with turmeric before? It wasn't until we lived in Bali that I introduced this aromatic root into my kitchen. Turmeric, with its electric yellow hue, is a powerful anti-inflammatory as well as a delicious seasoning. Do beware that turmeric stains like crazy: be careful of your cutting boards, food processor, anything that can quickly soak up the natural dye. Clean up turmeric immediately or you'll find a strong yellow tint is left in its wake.

INGREDIENTS lightly adapted from Sunset's The Great Outdoors Cookbook

  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass (available at many Asian grocers); or 3 strips lemon zest chopped
  • 3/4 cup cilantro sprigs ( I strongly suggest using the stems as well as the leaves)
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 chicken wings

Make your rub at least a hour before cooking, if not the night before, so that the chicken has time to really soak up the flavors.

Trim lemongrass and slice into 1/4 inch rounds. Place lemongrass in a food processor along with the cilantro, garlic, salt, turmeric, a few generous grinds of black pepper and olive oil. Blitz until the ingredients are integrated and chopped into a coarse blend. Rub mixture onto the chicken wings. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.(Remember to immediately clean turmeric from your cutting boards and food processor to avoid stains.)

When you're ready to cook, heat up your grill over medium (350-450 degrees). Using paper towels, rub the grates with cooking oil. Grill the chicken covered for 14-16 minutes flipping occasionally until the meat is no longer pink at the bone.

Eat right away and enjoy!

serves 2-4 as a main, 8 as an appetizer