Certainly one of the things I will miss about leaving England is the nearly instant access to amazing Indian food.
I have learned a lot about Indian food since I have lived here and while I am here and can “study” the food some more and get good tips and pointers from the many Indian people around, I have been working on recipes that I can take with me and feed our friends and family, no matter where we are in the world.
Here is our first crack at tandoori chicken – what I learned from this one is to use a bit more food coloring than I did and to marinate the chicken for at least a half hour ahead of time, then to remove all the excess yogurt marinade sauce before baking it. If you don’t, then some of it will fall off the chicken and the rest will remain wet and sticky, not the dry, thin marinade that you tend to find on tandoori chicken done right.
The flavor is something unparalleled to any other chicken we have made and it certainly satisfied every palate in our house that night. We served it over biryani rice with some cucumber raitha - a combination of amazing with luscious that will keep you wanting more, no matter how full you get!
If you have never had biryani – it is a super simple rice dish to put together and you can be as creative as you want! Any mixture of veggies is acceptable, so this is a great dish to make if you have a bunch of bags of frozen veggies in the group that just have a bit left in them and you don’t know quite what you could do with them – this is the recipe for you!
Biryani is also found to have different proteins in it, which bring different flavors so instead of your usual Chicken Fried Rice, you could have Chicken Biryani! This is a versatile rice dish and a great one to pair with any Indian food you might be having. I love it since it combines my love of a well-seasoned meat like lamb and shrimp with rice and veggies! If you have many rice lovers in your home, you might want to double the recipe – this was enough for three adults with one or two portions leftover for lunch the next day.
If this meal doesn’t get you interested in trying more Indian food, nothing will!
Ingredients for Tandoori Chicken:
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1-1/4 C plain yogurt
- 1/2 onion, finely diced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp yellow food coloring
- 1 tsp red food coloring
- 2 tsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, onion, garlic, ginger, garam masala & cayenne until thoroughly combined and smooth.
Stir in the food coloring, then add the chicken to the mixture, coating well. Cover and refrigerate for 6-24 hours.
Spoon off most of the marinade as you place each brest into a glass, oven-going casserole dish. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Once the oven is to temperature, bake the chicken breasts for about 20-30 minutes until when each breast is pierced with a sharp knife in the thickest part of the breast, the juices run clear.
If you find that the chicken is burning in bits before it is completely cooked through, put a foil tent over the chicken and continue cooking until it is cooked through.
Garnish with cilantro and lemon wedges to serve.
Ingredients for Easy Peasy Biryani:
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 2 TBS ginger paste
- 2 TBS garlic paste
- 1 rounded TBS hot curry powder (we use Madras)
- 2 C (150g) basmati rice, washed and drained
- 3 C (600 ml) chicken broth, you can substitute veg broth or water if you like
- 1-1/2 tsp salt
- 90 g or 1 C thawed and drained frozen veg, we used 3/4 C frozen peas and 1/4 C finely diced fresh carrots but you can use any frozen veg or fresh veg mix you like
Heat 5 TBS vegetable oil in a heavy pot until hot but not smoking.
Saute the onion, ginger & garlic paste over medium heat until golden and fragrant.
Sprinkle the curry powder over the mix and stir to combine.
Add the rice and stir until each grain is glistening with oil.
Pour in the stock then add the salt, stirring to dissolve. Bring the mixture to a boil and when the liquid is almost gone and holes appear on top of the rice, reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Open and add all the veggies and cover immediately for an additional 15 minutes.
Take off the heat, fluff with a fork and serve while piping hot.