Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Simple Tandoori Chicken with Basmati Rice, Grilled Onions and Lemon
When I think of Tandoori Chicken, I'm instantly brought back to my days in New York City. There was a small, authentic Indian restaurant right around the corner from our tiny walk-up apartment. My husband and I would visit the restaurant whenever we were looking for a super relaxed evening of sitar music, Kingfishers and the Chef's first rate - straight from the clay oven - screaming red - perfectly cooked -Spicy Tandoori Chicken!
Those. Were. The. Days.
I wanted to recreate that tandoori chicken experience at home...or at least the best I could being a 30 something white woman living in suburban New Jersey with no clay oven, no authentic Indian cookware ...and sadly... (and surprisingly...I know)......no sitar.
The goal was to get the Tandoori Chicken as close to red as possible...something I've struggled with in the past...
The Tandoori recipes I've made before always turn out yellow (no doubt from the turmeric powder added to the marinade). Many recipes online will tell you to add red food coloring to the dish to attain that classic red......but surely... there had to be another way?
Three tablespoons of paprika (2 sweet/1 hot) and two tablespoons of tomato paste turned my marinade from a light yellow color, to one with shades of red. I allowed the chicken thighs to marinate for one and a half hours before cooking them atop a scorching hot grill!
A quick and easy, wonderful "home version" of a classic Indian Tandoori...and a welcome addition to our repertoire of weeknight family dinners! The adapted recipe follows...
completely adapted from this Tandoori Chicken recipe at Simply Recipes
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 Tbsp garam masala
2 Tbsp sweet paprika
1 Tbsp hot paprika
1 cup plain yogurt
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
4 minced garlic cloves
2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Mix all the ingredients together until well mixed. Add your chicken to the marinade, cover and chill for at least an hour (preferably 6 hours), no more than 8 hours.
Prepare your grill so that one side is quite hot over direct heat, the other side cooler, not over direct heat. If using charcoal, leave one side of the grill without coals, so you have a hot side and a cooler side. If you are using a gas grill, just turn on one-half of the burners. Use tongs to wipe the grill grates with a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil (Or spray your chicken with cooking spray). Take the chicken out of the marinade and shake off the excess. You want the chicken coated, but not gloppy. Put the chicken pieces on the hot side of the grill and cover. Cook 2-3 minutes before checking.
Turn the chicken so it is brown (even a little bit charred) on both sides, then move it to the cool side of the grill. Cover and cook for about 6 more minutes depending on the size of the chicken and the temperature of the grill. The chicken is done when its juices run clear.
Let it rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. It’s also great at room temperature or even cold the next day.
Serve with Basmati rice. Grilled Onions and Lemon optional but delish!!!
Yield: Serves 4-6.