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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tandoori Chicken


The name of this recipe is a little bit misleading since we do not, in fact, have a tandoor. We do have a nice outdoor grill, which seems to make an acceptable substitute. This is the overall family favorite for Indian food. It's also fairly healthy as long as you use low-fat or non-fat yogurt and trim the chicken.

The original recipe called for adding a bit of red food coloring, which does make the dish look more like something you would get at an Indian restaurant. We don't usually color our food unnecessarily, though, and we like the way it looks without the coloring.

As this recipe has evolved, we have started finishing the chicken in a vegetable basket that is designed to grill vegetables. We put the onion slices under the chicken. Both the look and the flavor of the onions when we do this is unbelievable. Unfortunately, we forgot about this innovation until the chicken was already in the house, so the photo shows the original cooking method.
Tandoori Chicken
Marinade
1 teaspoon dry ground ginger
2 large cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup plain low-fat or non-fat yogurt
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
Blend all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until it's well combined.
Chicken
2-3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, well trimmed
Pour the marinade over the chicken and stir to coat the chicken thoroughly. Seal in a plastic bag or container, refrigerate, and marinate for at least four but no more than 12 hours. Turn the chicken at least once to ensure that it is evenly coated.
Heat the grill and lay the chicken pieces on the grill about two inches apart. Cover the grill.
After about five minutes, remove the grill lid and turn over the chicken pieces; they should look slightly charred. Replace the lid and continue cooking for another five to seven minutes. Uncover the chicken, turn it over, and leave it uncovered while you cook it for another 2-3 minutes. Test for doneness; the meat should feel firm when you press it.
Garnish (This is our favorite part of the recipe)
1/2 mild onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 lime, cut in wedges
Transfer the chicken to a large platter. Arrange the onion, cilantro and lime wedges over the chicken and seal the platter with foil. Let the chicken rest for ten minutes to absorb the garnish flavors. We also like to squeeze the lime juice over the chicken before serving.

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