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Tandoori-Style Grilled Chicken

Posted Jun 19 2009 4:47pm


I didn’t live too far away from home when I was in college, and like the usual college student, would come home on the weekends to do the usual – laundry, sleep, and grocery-shop in my mom’s pantry for some goodies to take back to my apartment.  We didn’t have cable for some time, but we did have public television programming, and I really looked forward to Saturdays, where they’d have the regular cooking show lineup.  This is where I learned so many cooking techniques – the whys and hows of cooking, oftentimes killing two birds with one stone by running on the treadmill in front of the TV.

My fave shows were Jacques Pepin’s Fast Food My Way, Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie, America’s Test Kitchen, and Mark Bittman Takes on America’s Chefs.  These were where the real cooking started – no need for glitz and glamour, just real, unadulterated food.  Because of America’s Test Kitchen, I made the best Hot & Sour Soup my husband and I ever ate.  I would lovingly cradle my subscription to Cook’s Illustrated, Christopher Kimball’s no-fuss magazine that doesn’t even have vivid pictures on every page, but reads like an intriguing novel.

Bittman Takes On America’s Chefs was a no-fuss, straight-forward approach to cooking, where even the most daunting dishes seemed easy and interpretation was not only encouraged, but an absolute necessity.  Here’s a recipe that was inspired from one of the episodes that featured chef Suvir Saran and his tandoori prawns.  I remember thinking, “This is awesome!  Indian food made simple!”  After watching that a few years ago, I went to the library, checked out his cookbook, and Phong and I made the Sweet Pepper Biryani with Cumin and Fennel.  SO.  GOOD.  I need not say more – we’ve kept the same recipe, tucked away in my chicken-scratch recipe collection, for over 2 years now.  It has flecks of fennel dust on it, but that’s part of my nasty recipe notebook’s charm.

Many of you may already know I put yogurt in A LOT of my baking to add moisture and lend a tender crumb; marinating meat in yogurt imparts a whole new flavor (not yogurt-y, by the way) while still tenderizing the meat.  This is my interpretation, with the spices I had in my cabinet thrown in.  I sliced zucchini, lengthwise into ribbons, and hubby grilled those too – I think they’re more fun to eat that way! Enjoy!

Tandoori-Style Grilled Chicken

serves 4-6

2 lbs chicken thighs or breasts, skinless, boneless

1 1/4 cup plain lowfat yogurt

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp curry powder

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp sea salt


1.  In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients except for the chicken.  When all ingredients are combined, put the chicken in the yogurt marinade, making sure all the marinade coats the chicken.  Place in the fridge, covered, for about an hour.  Then grill it till it’s done!

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