Here I go again into the Indian food bliss. I must say this one was an exceptional success. The meal was delicious and light. I am not a big fan of rice as it usually tends to be heavy, but in this case it was delicious and light.
My girlfriend suggested replacing the mint in riata with dill (since we didn’t have mint 🙂 ) and it was a brilliant idea. The dip accompanied the spice and the heat of the chicken and rice to provide a smooth flavor and lightness for the meal.
Since i do not have a tandoori grill in my house (I guess it is a drawback of living in Brooklyn) I used, my favorite tool in the kitchen, the cast iron skillet and regular oven for the chicken.
So here is the recipe:
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 Tbsp garam masala
- 1 Tbsp sweet (not hot) paprika
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- 2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 whole chicken legs (drumsticks and thighs), or its equivalent, skinless, bone-in
1 Heat the oil in a small pan over medium heat, then cook the coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, garam masala and paprika, stirring often, until fragrant (approximately 2-3 minutes). Let cool completely.
3 Cut deep slashes (to the bone) in 3-4 places on the leg/thigh pieces. Just make 2-3 cuts if you are using separate drumsticks and thighs. Coat the chicken in the marinade, cover and chill for at least an hour (preferably 6 hours), no more than 8 hours. (we did 1 hour… who has the time in this world?)
4 Prepare your grill so that one side is quite hot over direct heat, the other side cooler, not over direct heat. If using charcoal, leave one side of the grill without coals, so you have a hot side and a cooler side. If you are using a gas grill, just turn on one-half of the burners. Use tongs to wipe the grill grates with a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil. Take the chicken out of the marinade and shake off the excess. You want the chicken coated, but not sloppy. Put the chicken pieces on the hot side of the grill and cover. Cook 2-3 minutes before checking.
5 Turn the chicken so it is brown (even a bit charred) on all sides, then move it to the cool side of the grill. Cover and cook for at least 20 minutes, up to 40 minutes (or longer) depending on the size of the chicken and the temperature of the grill. The chicken is done when its juices run clear.
Let it rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. It’s also great at room temperature or even cold the next day.
Yield: Serves 4-6.
- 2 cups long-grain rice, preferably Basmati
- 8 cups water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 cloves
- 2 cardamom pods
- One 2-inch piece of cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil (or ghee if you have it)
- 1/2 teaspoon dark mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon chile flakes
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 chopped garlic cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 Place rice in a sieve and run cool water through it to rinse it until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in cool water for 30 minutes. Drain.
2 Bring 8 cups of water and the salt to a boil in a large pot. Add the rice and stir. Add the cloves, cardamom and cinnamon and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste the rice, and test if it is done to your taste; rice can take more or less time to cook depending on how old it is. If still too firm, cook a few minutes longer.
3 When the rice is cooked to your liking, drain the rice into a colander and rinse with cold water to stop if from cooking. Remove the cloves, cardamom and cinnamon and discard. Set the rice aside to drain.
4 In a pan large enough to hold the rice, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and the chile flakes. Cook until the mustard seeds start popping, then add the onion. Sauté until the onion begins to brown, about 5-7 minutes.
5 Add the garlic and sauté another 2-3 minutes. Add the rice and mix well. Sprinkle the turmeric over the rice and mix well. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring often.
Yield: Serves 4-6.
- One large (or two medium) cucumbers, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and seeded, then grated
- 2 cups plain whole milk yogurt
- 10 large mint leaves, thinly sliced* (can sub cilantro)(we used dill)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin**
- Pinch of cayenne
- Pinch of paprika
- Salt and pepper
* To slice the mint leaves, “chiffonade” them by stacking them on top of each other, rolling them up like a cigar, and taking thin slices off the end.
** If whole cumin seeds are available, take one teaspoon and toast the seeds first in a small skillet until just fragrant. Then grind with a mortar and pestle.
1 Place grated cucumber in a sieve and press with the back of a spoon to squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Alternatively, you can place the grated cucumber in the middle of a clean tea towel, wrap the towel around the cucumber and wring out the excess moisture.
2 Stir spices and mint into yogurt in a medium bowl. Stir in the grated cucumber. Chill until ready to serve.
Indian food always goes well with crispy filtered beer. We had it with Josephsbrau Plznr from Trader Joe’s. It is a Belgian style pilsner and is clean and refreshing to accompany the spice and flavor of Indian food. http://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer/article.asp?article_id=602