Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori Chicken from India

2.5 lbs.  skinless and boneless chicken thighs
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 (1 ½ -inch diameter) cube of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1¾ teaspoons garam masala
¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, or to taste)
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
½ to 1 teaspoon red food coloring  

Rinse and pat chicken dry with paper towels. With a sharp knife, make 2 diagonal slashes on each thigh.

Put onion, garlic, ginger and lemon juice in a blender, and blend to a smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl large enough to accommodate the chicken. Add the yogurt, spices, salt, oil and food coloring, if using. Mix thoroughly. 

Add the chicken to the marinade and rub the marinade into the slashes with your fingertips. Cover and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours, turning the chicken 4 or 5 times while it is marinating. 

To cook on a gas grill: Preheat grill by turning all burners on High for about 15 minutes. Once grill is hot, turn one burner off and turn the others to Medium. Place chicken pieces over the burner that is off. Close the grills lid and cook the chicken for 45 to 60 minutes, turning the chicken every 15 minutes. The chicken is done when the juices run clear. 

If using a charcoal grill, light the coals about 1 ½ hours before serving; it should take 20 to 30 minutes to get red-hot. Place the barbecue grid on its lowest setting.  Lift the chicken pieces out of the marinade and place on the barbecue rack. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes on each side, then position the rack farther from the heat source. Cook the chicken more slowly for another 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally and basting with the marinade from time to time. The chicken is done when the juices run clear.


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