Cook's Illustrated (January & February 2009)
So when we saw this tandoori chicken in Cook's Illustrated, we couldn't wait to try it.
How did our first foray into Indian cooking turn out?
The challenge with Tandoori chicken, according to Cook's, is two-fold. The traditional recipe requires a 24-hour marinade (which is a pain) and a 900-degree oven (which is, um, an impossibility for most of us).
Cook's reworks this recipe to utilize a traditional in-home oven, and it translates brilliantly.
It's actually a pretty easy and relatively quick dish to make (30 minutes of marinating and essentially 40 minutes to cook).
And the ingredients themselves aren't exotic, except for the garam masala. (Our Harris Teeter grocery store doesn't stock garam masala, but we found some at the local organic-foods store. Any specialty spice shop -- and probably even Whole Foods or Trader Joe's -- ought to have it, though.)
But the chicken! OH, the chicken! This cooking method gives you chicken that's nicely moist inside, with a terrific, salty char on the outside.
And it's amazing how just one tablespoon of garam masala can transform this dish and elevate it to such a different culinary experience.
That one tablespoon somehow enlivens the whole thing, enveloping the meat with a deliriously enticing, earthy scent. Mixed with the cumin and yogurt flavors, the dish is a tangle of fantastic exotic tastes.
We were thrilled with our first attempt at cooking Indian. We can't wait to try another dish soon!
Read Cook's discussion of their attempts at reworking Tandoori Chicken here.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
4 tablespoons juice from 2 limes, plus 1 lime, cut into wedges
2 teaspoons table salt
3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts, skin removed and trimmed of excess fat
1. Heat oil in small skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add garam masala, cumin, and chili powder; continue to cook until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds longer. Transfer half of garlic-spice mixture to medium bowl; stir in yogurt and 2 tablespoons lime juice and set aside.
2. In large bowl, combine remaining garlic-spice mixture, remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice, and salt. Using sharp knife, lightly score skinned side of each piece of chicken, making 2 or 3 shallow cuts about 1 inch apart and about 1/8 inch deep; transfer to bowl. Using hands, gently massage salt-spice mixture into chicken until all pieces are evenly coated; let stand at room temperate 30 minutes.
3. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat oven to 325 degrees. Pour yogurt mixture over chicken and toss until chicken is evenly coated with thick layer. Arrange chicken pieces, scored-side down, on wire rack set in foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Bake chicken until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 125 degrees for breasts and 130 for legs and thighs, 15 to 25 minutes. (Smaller pieces may cook faster than larger pieces. Transfer chicken from pieces to plate as they reach correct temperature.)
4. After removing chicken from oven, turn oven to broil and heat 10 minutes. Once broiler is heated, flip chicken pieces over and broil until chicken is lightly charred in spots and instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 165 degrees for breasts and 15 for legs and thighs, 8 to 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to large plate, tent loosely with foil, and rest 5 minutes. Serve with chutney or relish, passing lime wedges separately.