General Joseph’s Five-Star Chicken Batons

On the occasions when General Joseph was in uniform, his chest was covered in medals. Uncle Joseph was a surgeon and head of the Armed Forces Medical Corps. He would operate in the morning—his were the most difficult cases—and arrive home for “lunch” at 3 or 4 p.m. His workday was technically done, but we wouldn’t see him again until late that night, after he had checked in on each of his patients one more time. I would have loved to serve him his namesake chicken skewers to go with his nightcap.




2 boneless chicken breasts



1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil 

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons Ginger Garlic Paste

2 tablespoons shallots, minced in a food processor

1 slice bacon, finely chopped

1 teaspoon cayenne powder

½ teaspoon turmeric 

1 teaspoon salt 

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon allspice 

2–3 drops liquid smoke


8 six-inch skewers, wooden (soaked in water for one hour) or metal

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, for basting

1 tablespoon chaat masala


Make ahead: If you are using wooden skewers, you will need to soak them in water for an hour before using. Meanwhile, your chicken can be marinating—at least an hour or overnight, in the fridge. Uncooked chicken skewers freeze and defrost well. 

Pound chicken breast between two sheets of parchment paper with wooden mallet until ½-inch thick. Cut into 1-inch strips.

Mix the marinade in a medium glass bowl. Add chicken, cover, and hold in the fridge for at least one hour.

Position rack in middle of oven and turn broiler on. 

Thread chicken on skewers. Brush with sesame oil and broil, 5 minutes per side. 

Sprinkle with chaat masala and serve hot with Deepa’s Green Sauce or Chutput Ketchup for delicious dipping.




You can get great grilled flavor from a few drops of liquid smoke. I prefer Lazy Kettle Brand, All Natural Hickory Liquid Smoke.

You could pair this dish with New Indian Pesto and Bean Soup and Avocado, Tomato and Plum Salad. An obvious main dish, the chicken skewers are also popular starters.