Monday, April 18, 2011

Tandoori-Spiced Chicken

Yesterday was Tandoori-Spiced Chicken.  Today, and above, is left over Tandoori-Spiced chicken.  With one bite taken out of it, because I always forget that I'm supposed to take pictures of my food before I eat it.  I also forget I'm supposed to take pictures of the food while I'm preparing it...  this food blogging thing is hard.

Tandoori chicken has its roots in Indian cuisine.  It is named after the oven in which the chicken is cooked, a tandoor, and is usually orange in color.  A quick look at my pictures will show that I didn't quite get there.  The marinade was a pleasing light yellow in color, like the yolk part of good deviled eggs.  Which I thought was pretty and yummy-looking, until I realized that Tandoori chicken is supposed to be orange.  Oops?  The color derives from the turmeric and cayenne pepper I would assume and the lack of color easily translated into a lack of spice.  Needless to say, this is an Indian chicken played way down in attempts to be easier on our palettes.  To which I say "phooey", give me something with some kick.  For all who try this recipe, I boldly suggest... give the chicken a little more turmeric and cayenne pepper loving.

This recipe proved to be an adventure from start to finish.  First, you marinate the chicken.  This takes two hours, so don't do what I normally do and forget that this recipe will take an additional two hours to make.  The marinade is mostly Greek yogurt (Yum!) and spices.  Which they suggest you throw in a zip-loc bag.  This becomes difficult when you start out with the Greek yogurt.  This becomes messy.  And difficult to mix.  Then you have to grate an onion.  Does any one have an idea how to grate an onion, because it is a skill that completely escapes me.  I tried my micro-planer (one of my utmost favorite kitchen utensils EVER).  No dice, but lots of juice.  Then I tried the box grater Ben got me for Christmas last year, little less juice, little more flesh, but still a big mess.  I eventually got the 1 tablespoon I needed, but it took some effort and nearly a quarter of an onion.  Then, once everything else was in the bag,I tried to start mixing.  That pretty yellow color I was talking about earlier took at least 7 minutes to achieve.  This is too long to mix something in a plastic bag.

The next step, after the marinating, is broiling on a broiling pan.  And then I remembered, I don't have a broiling pan.  I then figured that since chicken is a lot fatter than fish, it could possible cause a problem under the broiler, so my normal solution wouldn't work.  Shit.  And then I remembered, I am an engineer!  Things like this don't stop me, because I am an engineer!  And with that pep talk still ringing in the air, I made my own broiler pan.  Not quite a tandoor oven, but you make due with what you got.

I broiled the chicken 7 minutes.  I flipped it and broiled again 8 minutes.  It came out a little dry but a pretty yellow.  It needs sauce and probably a little less time under the broiler.  And LOTS more spice.  And a fantastic side.  Like, may I suggest broccoli sauteed up with some left over wheat spaghetti, Korean barbeque sauce and some crushed red pepper flakes?  Now that deserves a post all to itself... 

Tandoori-Spiced Chicken
Adapted from Cooking Light, Jan/Feb 2010

1 1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. grated onion
1 Tbsp. grated, peeled fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 tsp. salt
Cooking spray

Combine first 8 ingredients in a heavy-duty zip-loc plastic bag (or maybe mix first in a bowl and transfer!!)  Add chicken and seal.  Marinate in refridgerator for 2 hours, turning occasionally.

Place a small roasting pan in oven and preheat broiler to high.  Remove chicken from bag and discard marinade.  Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt and place on preheated pan, coated with cooking spray.  Broil in lower third of oven for 15 minutes, or until done.  Turn after 7 minutes.

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