Tandoori chicken is a popular and simple preparation that fits well in a low-carb diet. Skinless chicken is marinated in a mixture of spices and yogurt and grilled.
For some reason tandoori chicken is often imparted with a fake-looking red color. If you want you can go with this tradition by adding a few drops of red food coloring to the marinade but I'm not sure that adds anything to the enjoyment of this dish.
Be sure to plan ahead for tandoori chicken, as it requires marination of 4 to 6 hours. Serve with lentils and an Indian bread such as puri or naan.
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon garam masala (see below)
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1" ginger root, peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 chicken legs, skinless
- 4 chicken thighs, skinless
1. Place the oil in a small sauté pan and heat over a medium flame. Add the coriander, cumin, mustard seeds, cayenne and garam masala and cook, stirring, until the mustard seeds start to pop.
2. Add the turmeric and cook, stirring, until the turmeric turns a darker color, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
3. Make three deep cuts in one side of each of the chicken pieces.
4. Mix the cooled spice mixture with the paprika, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, ginger and salt.
5. Smear the chicken with the yogurt mixture. Refrigerate, covered, 4 - 6 hours.
6. Prepare a medium-hot grill (charcoal or gas). Remove chicken from marinade and shake off excess. Place chicken on hottest part of the grill and allow to cook, undisturbed, for about 3 minutes.
7. Turn the chicken pieces and grill another 3 minutes undisturbed. The chicken pieces should be browned on all sides.
8. Move the chicken to the cooler part of the grill, cover with a piece of aluminum foil and cook about 20 - 25 minutes more, to an internal temperature of 156º. Remove to a plate, cover with foil and allow to rest another 5 minutes before serving.
Garam masala is a spice mixture typical to Indian cuisine. Recipes for it differ slightly by their region of origin. Premixed garam masala may be purchased at Indian groceries or sometimes in the "Ethnic" section of large supermarkets, or you can make your own:
(from Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Sumana Ray)
- 3 tablespoons cardomom seeds
- 3" cinnamon stick
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 of a nutmeg
Grind spices together until pulverized. Store in a tightly closed container.