I have always been amazed by the Indian cuisine. The aromatic flavors and complexity of the dishes sometimes makes me want to go to India just to learn how to make their food.
And since I like the combination of spices they use (with the exception of fennel seeds), I am always experimenting and looking for recipes and ideas to try at home. Especially since taking Matheus to the restaurant isn't yet possible as he cannot tolerate the heat all that well (and sometimes neither can I to be quite true).
So making Indian food at home has been a very pleasant adventure for all of us. I really enjoy the cooking process, toasting the spices, creating different (to me!) flavors, marinating the meat for long hours, and since Matheus and my Husband are good taste testers, at the end we get to share delicious food which we all can enjoy together!
Since we discovered a delicious local Indian restaurant I have been expanding my knowledge of Idian dishes and understanding a little bit more of what regions. Through researching and asking my blog friend Agda (chek out her blog, it is full of delicious Indian dishes!!), Indian food has become even more appealing to me.
One of the dishes I enjoy at the Indian restaurant is their Tandoori Chicken, so as soon as I saw the recipe for Grilled Tandoori Chicken on the current issue of Cooking Light Magazine I knew I had to try it.
I knew from the beginning that my chicken would not resemble or taste much like the one I get at the restaurant, as it is certainly impossible to create at home the flavor that the "tandoor" oven imparts to the dish, but grilling it sounded like a way to impart something more to the already so fragrant combination of spices.
The chicken came out really good! And I mean it, really, really good! I marinated the chicken overnight so the spices were through out the meat and the grill definitely added something to it all. The marinade by itself was already delicious with the yogurt, spices, the ginger and lemon juice... it was truly good, and we all agreed it was one of the most flavorful chickens we made in our grill.
Even though the recipe asks for only chicken thighs I used a combination of chicken breasts and thighs, but I have to say that the thighs were a lot more moist and flavorful than the breast pieces, the charred parts were just amazingly yummy (and this coming from someone that doesn't like dark meat really says a lot).
I halved the recipe and did not add the red pepper or the Serrano pepper to it, as I didn't want to make it too spicy for us, but I actually missed a little bit of heat (you know, Indian food is supposed to be a little spicy). So, the second time I made I added a tiny bit of red pepper and... it was even better! Feel free to adjust the spices and peppers to suit your tastes.
I served the Tandoori Chicken with basmatti saffron rice and curried vegetables and it was a very delicious Indian meal!
My note: we didn't care for the yogurt sauce all that much, so I didn't even bother to make it the second time I made the chicken.
If anyone has a good yogurt "sauce" recipe/idea to go with this kind of chicken dish, would you like to share with me?? I know there might be something around, as I have had better yogurt sauces than this one... the search for Indian flavors continues!
Grilled Tandoori Chicken
(Adapted from Cooking Light, May 2008)
2 teaspoons canola oil
4 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 cups coarsely chopped onion (I
1/2 cup coarsely chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoons finely chopped seeded serrano pepper
8 garlic cloves, crushed
2 1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt, divided
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, divided
2 teaspoons salt, divided
16 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
Heat oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add paprika, 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin, 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander, garam masala, turmeric, and red pepper to pan; cook 2 minutes or until fragrant, stirring constantly. Remove from pan; cool.
Place onion, ginger, serrano pepper, garlic, spice mixture, 1/2 cup yogurt, 2 tablespoons juice, and 1 3/4 teaspoons salt in a food processor (I used a blender) and process until smooth. Transfer mixture to a large heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag. Cut 3 shallow slits in each chicken thigh. Add chicken to bag, and seal. Toss to coat. Marinate in refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.
Combine remaining 2 cups yogurt, 2 tablespoons juice, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon coriander, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl, stirring well. Cover mixture, and chill.
Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 7 minutes on each side or until done. Serve with yogurt mixture.Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 2 chicken thighs and about 1/4 cup yogurt mixture)