Tandoori Chicken
Serves 4 to 6
This is one of those great do-ahead recipes. Marinate the chicken the day before you cook it, and once cooked, the pieces are good hot or cold. One of the things that endeared me to Indian cuisine was that it’s about contrasts: something hot goes with something cooling, if it’s spicy, it’s mixed with something fruity. I love it!So I make a cucumber raita with salted and drained cucumber cubes, Greek-style yogurt, lots (and I mean, lots…) of chopped garlic, fresh lime juice, and a big handful of chopped mint. After making it, I think raita is now my favorite thing in the world. I also mixed up diced pineapple with hot chile flakes, mint, lime juice, and toasted coconut for a quick, chutney-like accompaniment.Some folks add garam masala, which I’ve added to my shopping list for next time. Because I had a bit of red food coloring leftover from my ketchup macarons, I cautiously added 1/4 teaspoon to the marinade, since at the tandoori chicken places I go to, the chicken is always a vibrant red. I shortly thereafter learned that tandoori coloring is sold in Indian markets, and it’s something I might try next time, just for fun.
1/8 teaspoon saffron powder or 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads (see Note)
1 tablespoon boiling water
4 skinless chicken thighs
4 skinless chicken legs
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon paprika (I used pimento d’Espelette)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons chilli powder depending on how hot you want it
10 turns fresh ground black pepper
1 cup whole milk plain yogurt
juice of one fresh lime
1 tablespoon finely-minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic peeled and finely minced
1. Soak the saffron in the boiling water for five minutes. Meanwhile, with a sharp knife, score the chicken flesh deeply, each piece slashed three times. Put in a large zip-top freezer bag.
2. Add all the remaining ingredients to the bag, including the saffron (and the water) and express out most of the air, then seal the top. Massage the bag to mix the ingredients and coat the chicken pieces.
3. Refrigerate the chicken overnight.
4. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and fry the pieces with the thick marinade clinging to them, in a hot oiled grill pan until dark on one side. Flip and fry until darkened on the other side.
5. Slip a knife in the meat and make sure the chicken is cooked through. If not, add a bit of water to the pan to loosen any caramelized bits, and place in a 350F (180C) oven for about 10 minutes, or until cooked through.

(The dessert shown is Coconut Tapioca Pudding, from Room For Dessert.)