My mother, who is a great cook, simply gets green with envy at my oven utilization. She boasts to her friends how I simply toss a few ingredients together and put them all into the oven and set a timer on. No babysitting, freeing up your hands and mind to take care of the dishes, clean up a wee wee accident (what? that’s not a constant in your day to day?) or whatever else you might need to do. People in Bangladesh just don’t have ovens (or they didn’t at least when she was growing up), so the only method of food prep she’s ever known was stovetop. Luckily, I grew up in new york. I’ve used my oven to satisfy my sweet (and savory) tooth since I was a kid. So, given the craziness of everyday life here, it’s good to have a few of these marinades up your sleeves that you can prepare the morning of or night before, and toss in the oven half an hour before dinner time. I made these homefries to go along with the chicken. The bag said they’re a good source of potassium. Yay for good carbs! Salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder and olive oil. 425 for 25 min. Wow! The spice mix is a little tricky to put together but I highly recommend it! There is a small amount of nutmeg (compared to everything else in it) but the flavor really comes through! The flavor is more vibrant than any Shan mix you may buy (and minus the preservatives). Just spend a little bit of time one afternoon or evening to prepare the mix and you’ll have access to delicious tandoori chicken any time! I’ve actually had it sitting in my cupboard for a while (over a year) because I wasn’t crazy about the recipe that went with the mix, but I tried my hand at creating my own recipe more recently and I was blown away! I integrated a few tricks I picked up from Smitten Kitchen, namely her recipe for Buttermilk Roast Chicken. One: that 1 tbsp of salt in the marinade achieves the same effect of brining your chicken. Two: a little bit of sugar goes a long way when roasting chicken. I never was a fan of sweet/savory flavor combinations, but the amount of sugar in this recipe doesn’t make the chicken sweet, rather helps keep all the flavors balanced. Another thing that’s helped my cooking recently is raw ginger. I’ve always had an aversion to it. The times I would bite down on a piece while eating haleem. The sharp, unpleasant flavor it adds to drinks. So I kind of carried that into my cooking, only using small pinches of the milder version, ginger powder. But when I started using the real deal, something amazing happened: the foods I cooked reached new heights. Like, can-compete-with-my-mom heights. I used to attribute the difference in our foods to the type of salt we use (she uses table salt, I use kosher or sea salt), thinking perhaps what she uses (or the volume of it) amplifies the flavor in a way that kosher salt doesn’t. But now I really believe ginger to hold the key. It adds a depth, a warmth, that is hard to achieve with black pepper or chili powder. All in all, ginger, nutmeg, tender fall-off-the-bone meat all knocks this recipe out of the park.
I kept the skin on the legs, because I love a good, crispy skin. But this recipe works just as well with skinless.
- 6 chicken legs (thigh + drumstick)
- 1 cup of plain yogurt
- juice of a 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp tandoori spice mix
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or made into a paste
- 1 inch piece of ginger root, minced or made into a paste
- a pinch of chili powder (optional)
- an extra drizzle of olive oil
- Make two cuts into the chicken: one at the thigh, one at the drumstick. Place in a gallon zip lock bag.
- Combine yogurt, lemon juice, salt, sugar, spice mix, garlic, and ginger in a bowl or large glass measuring cup. Pour over the chicken in the bag and zip shut. Massage the marinade into the meat. Let sit in the fridge for about 8 hours (I did mine in a hurry, about 4 hours, and although it was delicious, it makes a difference in how deeply the flavor penetrates).
- Heat oven to 425 Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum. Take the chicken out of the marinade, shaking off excess. Spread the chicken out (overcrowding will keep the skin from crisping) and lightly sprinkle some chili powder over the top. Drizzle with olive oil for a nice tan, and bake for 30-35 minutes, depending on the size of the individual legs. The meat should be cooked through, but if your meat isn’t nicely browned, turn the heat up to 450 and bake for an additional 5 minutes. I had some leftover (halal beef) bacon grease from the morning, so I used that instead =)
- Serve with naan, home fries, or just a nice salad. Extra points for homemade cilantro yogurt dipping sauce (recipe to come!).