July 8, 2005

Tandoori-Spiced Chicken

Tandoori-Spiced Chicken
Gourmet (April 1999)

Tandoori chicken gets its name from the clay oven (heated by wood or coal) it is traditionally cooked in a tandoor which bakes meat, fish, poultry, and bread at temperatures upward of 500 F. In our version, the chicken is broiled and the signature yogurt and spice marinade contains only ingredients that are readily available on supermarket shelves.

For spice paste
1 large garlic clove
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 small fresh red or green chile such as serrano or cayenne
1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh gingerroot
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/4 pounds total)
1 small red onion
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

For yogurt sauce
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
a pinch cayenne

Make spice paste:
Mince garlic with salt and mash to a paste. Wearing protective gloves, mince chile (including seeds for a spicier paste) and in a bowl stir together with garlic paste and remaining spice paste ingredients.

Make 3 diagonal cuts about 1/4 inch deep in each chicken breast and rub spice paste into cuts and all over chicken. Marinate chicken, covered, 30 minutes at cool room temperature.

Preheat broiler and line broiler pan with foil. Halve onion through root end and reserve 1 half for sauce. Thinly slice remaining onion half, separating layers, and in a small bowl soak onion slices in ice water to cover while broiling chicken.

Arrange chicken without crowding on rack of broiler pan. Brush chicken with 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and broil about 3 inches from heat 8 minutes. Turn chicken over and brush with remaining teaspoon vegetable oil. Broil chicken until lightly browned and just cooked through, about 6 minutes more.

Make sauce while chicken is broiling:
Mince enough reserved onion to measure 1 tablespoon and in a small bowl stir together with all sauce ingredients.

Drain soaked onion and pat dry between paper towels. Top chicken with onion slices and serve with yogurt sauce. Each serving, including yogurt sauce, about 222 calories and 5 grams fat.

Notes: Tasty, but too many steps. Overly complicated. Would rather go back to Poached Chicken with Curried Yogurt Sauce. It still was worth trying, and the chicken was juicy. However, I'm not really convinced the iced onions added anything special either.

Served with Reynoso Vineyards 2001 Sauvignon Blanc

Posted by Jennifer at July 8, 2005 9:14 PM

I didn't really get what was so special about the iced onions either. As for the rest of the dish, it was good, but not so good that it was worth the amount of effort required, especially since other recipes (like the one mentioned) can provide a similar flavor with less work.

Posted by: Michael at July 10, 2005 2:45 PM

I buy tandoori powder at the Indian market, mix with yogurt, two cloves crushed garlic and lemon juice and marinate the chicken overnight in the fridge. Then cook on the grill outdoors - delish! If you don't have an Indian market close by, make the tandoori powder with Madras curry powder(it's hotter), cinnamon, cumin, coriander and a little chopped ginger. I'm not sure of the exact proportions. Maybe even the ingredients from the poached chicken sauce, which sounds wonderful.

Posted by: Susan at July 14, 2005 2:55 PM

Jennifer I used your post for the Julia Child recipe ... and loved it. Now, I'm looking at the rest of your site & seeing lots of good recipes. Thank you Thank you Thank you!

Posted by: Cathy at May 11, 2010 10:02 PM
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