By way of captioning: into/out of the frying pan and atop a mound of turmeric-ed lentils.
Aaaaaah… tandoori chicken, a la Priyanka. Onto my first point: if you want to cook food alien to you, find someone to whom the food is not alien! Anything not Italian is alien to me (and often times even that’s not the case), so when I get a hankering to branch off from my culinary tree, I go to my support network of fellow home cook enthusiasts. We are a slender but devoted breed, we talk about dinner at lunch and we’re always willing to lend a hand (since I used her help with this, I’m going to have to teach her to make raviolis, but oh well, it’ll be tons of fun).
A few days ago I asked her,”Hey Yankers, how do I make tandoori chicken, kid?” Actually, I said “I have chicken thighs, tandoori spice mix and yogurt, TEACH ME PLEASE”. And so she did, but not before telling me that this dish is traditionally prepared in a clay oven and served in a restaurant, so concessions have been made to make it accessible to we, the stove people.
To make the tandoori chicken:
- Chicken (I like thighs and I made 5, but use whichever part in whatever excess you deem fit, this mix should coat ~1.5 lbs of chicken parts)
- 1-2 tbsp Tandoori spice mix (I got mine at Balducci’s)
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 6 oz container plain greek yogurt
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 3 gloves of garlic, chopped
- salt and red pepper flakes
Add the onion, lemon juice, tandoori and yogurt to a blender carafe or stick blender vessel and puree. I added the spice, pepper and salt until the mix tastes good to me; make sure it’s very tart, spicy and salty. Pour over skinned chicken and sit overnight in a covered glass or plastic vessel in the fridge. After that, all you have to do is grill it up in your grill pan on medium high heat initially, then on medium or medium low once it gets going. Leave it there until it gets up t0 temperature (165 F) and serve.
I made a quick sauce using more yogurt mixed with 1 tbsp of parsley (cilantro would have been better) along with more lemon and salt and pepper. I know this is a bit vague; just add everything slowly until it tastes good to your palate. Remember that it’s gonna get mixed in with your entire plate of food, adding creaminess and some extra flavor.
Prepare lentils as before (see previous recipe–just add some turmeric and cumin at then end of cooking). If you’re feeling extra authentic, you can puree some of the lentils to thicken the dish (inspired by the classic Dal) and go ahead. And hey, yogurt? chicken? lentils? Go ahead and skip yoga tomorrow morning; nutritionally, you did good tonight.