TANDOORI CHICKEN ON NANN WITH LEMONY VEG

EAT CLEAN NEWSLETTER

July 4, 2016

FAVOURITE QUOTE THIS WEEK

"Creativity takes courage.” - HENRI MATISSE
I love Indian food.  And recently I've been spending a lot of time with a friend, also from India originally, chatting about Indian food. So it's been on my mind.
Let's lay this on the table right away (so to speak). The complication with Indian food is the huge range of spices required, even for one dish. The average person has a spice drawer. Indian cooking requires a cupboard. My mother had a whole pantry filled with various spice blends in huge quantities. I still don't know what each of them does in a dish apart from the obvious paprika, chilli, and cumin. I don't understand spices like chaat masala, tamarind paste, and asafetida. But I'm not going to let my lack of knowledge deter me; I want to learn.
I also want my family to try new things. Like me, my husband loves Indian food. But my children are more of a challenge. I cannot however, have them grow up not savouring Indian cuisine. I recall my shock when I first landed in Canada as an immigrant, hearing Canadian kids of Indian descent saying they didn't like our food. I was scandalized. I still am! So I refuse to let this go down with my own kids, on my watch.
I decided to start off simple - tandoori. It's the perfect entry point dish as it has the beautiful complex flavours of Indian cooking without the heat some struggle with (oh, I feel sorry for you lot), and it's super simple. You marinate meat, typically chicken, in spiced yoghurt. The yoghurt has a cooling effect on the spices. Tandoori is traditionally made in a "tandoor", or clay oven. But a similar outcome can be produced on the barbecue, which makes it ideal summer cooking. The recipe I tried is made-from-scratch chicken tandoori, which I skewered and grilled, served with naan and topped with lemony raw veg. Recipe below.
I was nervous as Emmy (my oldest, and pickiest eater in the household) tried her first bite...no reaction. Second bite...no reaction. This was a VERY good sign. I spoke not a word until she was almost through. Eventually I got a thumbs up in between bites. The baby also ate a whole chicken thigh herself. Success!
My advice if you love Indian food: try making it at home a few times; it's really not very difficult.  Buy the spices required for dishes you love and cook them once a week. You'll never go back to pre-packaged curry in a bottle or restaurant curry to get your fix. Over time maybe you'll also end up with a cupboard of spices, every one of which you love, and know everything thing about.
With warmth,
Gita 
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RECIPE

Tandoori2

TANDOORI CHICKEN ON NANN WITH LEMONY VEG

(Tip: make twice as much, and freeze half for a second meal. The chicken will taste even better with the longer marinade time.)
Serves 4
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 tray organic skinless boneless chicken thighs cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tsp chickpea flour (or cornstarch)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Thumb size piece ginger, peeled
  • 1 green chilli (seeds removed)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala powder (available in ethnic grocery stores)
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp saffron flowers
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil (1 tbsp for basting during grilling, and 1 tbsp for veg)
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 head of iceberg lettuce
  • Juice of half a lemon
PREPARATION
  • Using a small food processor, or mortar and pestle, grind the ginger, garlic and green chilli into a smooth paste. Add a splash of water, if required, to get it smooth.
  • Mix the yoghurt and flour in a bowl, ensuring there are no lumps. Add in the paste, paprika, chilli powder, garam masala and coriander powder. Also mix in the ground cinnamon, saffron and salt. Stir well.
  • Add in the chicken pieces and coat evenly. Leave to marinate for a few hours or overnight for an even more flavour.
  • Preheat the grill on medium. Using Epicure Metal Skewers, thread the chicken onto the skewers. Grill for 15-20 minutes. Turn the skewers every 5 minutes and baste with a bit of oil until the juices run clear and they are cooked through slightly charred around the edges.
  • Chop the lettuce and cucumber into fine slices.  Toss with the lemon juice and oil.
  • Serve chicken on warm naan, topped with fresh lemony salad, and a dollop of yogurt.

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Food is a blessing.  Give thanks each day for the abundance in our lives.

 

 

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