Thursday, January 9, 2014

Tandoori Style Chicken with Aloo Matar (Spiced Potatoes and Peas)

First, let me preface this recipe by saying this isn't authentic. This was created by a girl who was simply in the mood for Indian food. I do not own a tandoor; the chicken was cooked under the broiler. Aloo Matar is potatoes and peas in a spiced tomato based sauce which I did make. So, if you are an expert on Indian cuisine I'd love to hear your thoughts because I would love to expand my repertoire. For the rest of us, I was more than excited that I created an Indian dish that was an all around winner. Here is my toddler's plate after he was finished:

I chose chicken thighs for this recipe because I love the char that is produced when it is cooked under the broiler and I know that chicken breasts have a tendency to dry out easily. By using boneless skinless chicken thighs this recipe is nearly foolproof. 

Earlier today I mixed curry powder and cumin with yogurt to create a marinade for the chicken. As you can see in the photo below I left a healthy coat of the yogurt sauce on the chicken before I put it under the broiler. The browning of the yogurt sauce makes me feel like I cooked over an open fire and I find myself searching out the brown bits when I eat chicken cooked this way. It is so delicious. In order to maximize these delicious brown bits I reserved the extra sauce to brush on the bare spots when I turned the chicken over. 

Jen's Tandoori Chicken

1 lb of boneless skinless chicken thighs
3/4 cup of plain yogurt
2t of curry powder
2t of ground cumin
1t salt

Combine the yogurt, curry, cumin, and salt and then add the chicken to the mixture. I combined everything in a zip top bag and let it marinade in the refrigerator for 3 hours. You can let it marinade or cook it right away.

Place an oven rack into the second slot from the top of the oven and then turn the broiler on to its highest setting. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and cover it with a cooling rack. Place the chicken on the cooling rack and place it on the top oven rack after the broiler has heated up. Ovens may vary and we have all fallen victim to a broiler disaster so do not leave the area. After 15 minutes I checked for browning on the surface of the chicken and it was perfect. My other clue was that I could smell it so let your nose be your guide. When it is browned to your liking turn the chicken over and spoon or brush yogurt sauce on any bare areas. Place it back under the broiler for another 15 minutes and remove from the oven. Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before slicing it into bite sized pieces.

 How to Make Rice

Recently I have learned that some of my friends do not know how to make rice. A few have mentioned they have unused rice cookers but they generally give me a funny look when I say that it can be made on the stove top without a special cooker. For most white rices it's a basic 1 : 2 ratio of rice : water. Wild rice and brown rice are usually different and also require longer cooking times so check the package to make sure you have the correct ratio and cooking time.

Add the rice and water to a saucepan and bring it to a boil. As soon as the water begins to boil cover the pot with a lid and turn the burner down to low. (If the water boils too long the water to rice ratio will be thrown off and the rice may be tough.) Let the rice cook in the covered pot on low for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and pull back a bit of the rice to see if any water is left in the bottom of the pot. If water is still present replace the lid and check it again in a few minutes. When the water has completely absorbed into the rice it is done.

Aloo Matar (Spiced Potatoes and Peas)

2T freshly grated ginger
1T garam masala
1T cumin seeds
1/8t cayenne pepper
2T ghee
1t salt
18oz jar of crushed tomatoes
1 cup of coconut milk
2 Yukon gold potatoes diced
1 cup of frozen peas
1/4-1/2 plain yogurt (optional)*

Before you begin cooking peel and finely grate 2 T of ginger and 3 cloves of garlic. Dice 1/2 cup of yellow onion and 2 Yukon gold potatoes.

Melt ghee in a saucepan and saute onion over medium heat until translucent. Add ginger, garlic, garam masala, cumin, and cayenne to the onions and saute for a minute to enhance the flavors of the spices. Tip in the jar of crushed tomatoes and diced potatoes and stir to combine thoroughly. Turn the heat down to medium low and cover the pot with a lid to cook the potatoes and prevent evaporation. Stir occasionally until the potatoes are completely cooked. Time will depend on the size of the potato pieces, mine were done in 30 minutes. When the potatoes are done stir in 1 cup of coconut milk, 1 cup of frozen peas, and the diced tandoori chicken. Serve over rice.

*While eating dinner my husband and I debated on whether yogurt should be added to the sauce. It tastes great either way but it really comes down to what you are looking for. Without the yogurt there is more of contrast between the sauce and the flavor of the chicken. When yogurt is added the sauce seems a bit sweeter and blends with the flavor of the chicken. If you add yogurt add it at the very end. Based on my previous experience use plain yogurt and not Greek yogurt. The Greek yogurt I used in a prior dish separated. It tasted fine but it looked nasty.


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