Tandoori Chicken
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Arguably the most popular Indian dish among North Americans and Western Europeans alike, tandoori chicken has been synonymous with Indian restaurant food for centuries. My version renders an equally scrumptious result using skinless and boneless chicken breasts that cook quickly, either on the grill or in the oven, and are a cinch to make without having to use store-bought, sodium-laden tandoori marinades that cost you an arm and a leg.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt, preferably Greek style (full fat or nonfat)
  • 4 pieces fresh ginger (each about the size and thickness of a quarter; no need to peel the skin)
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. garam masala, homemade or store-bought
  • 1 tsp. coarse kosher or sea salt
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Nonfat cooking spray

Directions


Plop the yogurt (yes, a thick yogurt makes that noise when you dump it into a pan or bowl) into a blender. Add the ginger and garlic and sprinkle in the garam masala, salt, paprika and cayenne. Puree the marinade until it is smooth and saucy with a deep orange color. If you taste the marinade, which I hope you will, it will have a raw, robust and sharp taste, redolent of ginger, garlic and other assertive spices.

Place the chicken breasts in a bowl and spread the marinade over them, coating them thoroughly. Refrigerate the chicken breasts, covered, for at least 30 minutes. If you wish, overnight would also be great.

To cook the chicken, heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high or preheat the oven to 450°.

If you are grilling the chicken, spray the grill grate with cooking spray. Place the chicken on the grate. (Set aside any marinade for basting the chicken.) Cover the grill and cook the chicken, basting it occasionally with the remaining marinade during the first 5 minutes of cooking. Turn the breasts over after 2 1/2 minutes so both sides get basted. Continue cooking, turning the chicken over again after about 7 minutes more. The meat is done when it is barely pink in the thickest parts and, when cut, the juices run clear, about 20 minutes total.

If you are oven-roasting the chicken, place a rack in a roasting pan and spray it with cooking spray. Place the chicken on the rack. (Set aside any marinade for basting the chicken.) Roast the chicken, basting it during the first 5 minutes of cooking with the remaining marinade. Turn the breasts over after 2 1/2 minutes so both sides get basted. Continue cooking, turning the chicken over again after about 12 minutes more. The meat is done when it is barely pink in the thickest parts and, when cut, the juices run clear, 30 to 40 minutes total.

From Indian Cooking Unfolded: A Master Class in Indian Cooking, with 100 Easy Recipes Using 10 Ingredients or Less (Workman) by Raghavan Iyer.

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