Tandoori-style chicken with mint

A good first try

One of the gifts my wife gave me from her trip to England was an Indian cookbook by Madhur Jaffrey called Curry Easy. Like most gifts she gives me it was perfect. But it also meant she wanted me to cook something new. Indian and Thai food have always given me a bit of trouble, so this book was perfect as a starting point with basic instruction. It also has advanced recipes, once I hopefully get the hang of the cuisine.

For my first attempt, I tried the Tandoori-style chicken with mint, primarily because I have an abundance of fresh mint growing in the back yard. I followed her recipe fairly exact except that I cut back on the cumin in the garam marsala, which is fantastic to make from scratch but can be bought at most Indian and specialty food shops.

Madhur Jaffrey’s Tandoori-style Chicken with Mint

  • 4 whole chicken legs, separated into thighs and legs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3-inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garam masala (see below)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 8 ounces natural yogurt
  • 3 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil or ghee
  • 4 tbsp finely chopped mint

Cut two deep diagonal slits into the fleshy parts of each thigh and drumsticks. Arrange pieces in a single layer on a plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then lemon juice and set aside.

Blend onion, garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, garam masala, cumin and yogurt until smooth. Put chicken and juices from the plate into a bowl and cover with the paste, mixing well. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 450. Remove chicken from marinade and lay in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush with half the oil and sprinkle with half the mint. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the pieces over and brush with remaining oil and sprinkle with the rest of the mint. Bake for another five minutes, or until cooked completely.

Jaffrey’s garam masala

  • 1 tbsp cardamom seeds
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/3 of a nutmeg pod
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken up

Grind all the ingredients in a coffee grinder. Store in the cupboard.

About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
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43 Responses to Tandoori-style chicken with mint

  1. Hmmmmm, my favorite food.

  2. This sounds fabulous. I love the idea of the mint.
    Looking forward to more recipes from the book.
    🙂 Mandy

  3. Sutapa says:

    A delectable dish , I think mint add a succulent flavor to this mouthwatering dish!

  4. rsmacaalay says:

    Tandoori and mint how did it go? I looks like a good combination.

    • We really liked it and we are definitely looking for ways to use up our mint. I used some breasts and thighs and wouldn’t do that again. The breasts were dry. Next time I’d use only thighs. They cook at a really high temp.

  5. We love anything with chicken and this looks great. Besides, I have a yard full of mint. It grows in my yard like kudzu! I am always pulling it out of flower beds and such. Have a great week.

    • KBL says:

      You can make wonderful jellies fromanything in the mint family, including lemon balm, which is really lovely.

  6. ChefMom says:

    Miss A loves tandoori chicken. It’s one of her favorite dishes to eat when we go out for sushi. I wouldn’t have thought to use mint with tandoori chicken, but it sounds yummy!

  7. This looks delicious! Now I’m torn between making this or a chicken curry this weekend!

  8. I love the combination of spices!..It sounds like a wonderful recipe..
    thank you for sharing it with us

  9. Brit says:

    This sounds wonderful!

  10. Kas says:

    This sounds absolutely delicious. And by the way, we tried your guacamole recipe the other day … amazing!!!

  11. Caroline says:

    Sounds like such a delicious combination of flavors. I love your wife’s method of buying a new cookbook so you will make some new recipes–very smart! I’ve yet to try cooking Indian and Thai food, but will tackle that cuisine soon.

  12. Tiff says:

    Mmm… curry makes me happy

  13. joshuafagans says:

    I saw an interesting tandoori technique on America’s Test Kitchen a few weeks ago (http://www.americastestkitchen.com/recipes/detail.php?docid=18062&extcode=M**ASCA00) and have been meaning to try tandoori for a while. I just love that flavor.

  14. TasteFood says:

    I love tandoori chicken and mint, so this sounds pretty perfect to me!

  15. martko1964 says:

    Sounds really good. The mint sounds like a nice addition. This recipe would be a new frontier for me in cooking. Have never done tandori. Will have to give this a shot. Thanks for the great recipe.

  16. Sounds like another winner! Did you put the chicken pieces skin-up to start? Or do you think that matters?

    Oh, and dry your mint for tea. Just hang it up in bunches ’til it’s crispy-dry, then strip the leaves and toss the stems. In the cold dark winter, it tastes like summer…

  17. Do you know when I immediately saw the tandoori-style chicken photo, my stomach made noises LOL. You are making me hungry with this delicious dish.

  18. I just love the addition of mint and can only imagine the kick it must give this dish!

  19. Sara says:

    I am the same way with Indian food–love it, but haven’t really cooked it much. I have had Julie Sahni’s book for years and still have yet to use it. I’m tempted to get Jaffrey’s book but feel I have to cook from Sahni a few times to legitimatize it. And yet I’m sure that it’s just a matter of getting the pantry stocked and getting familiar with a few basic processes.

  20. Madhur Jaffery’s books are the best and often a great starting point for Indian cooking. This looks pretty good as does your blog…will stop again…

  21. Good old Madhur Jaffery – she´s great. This looks like a wonderful recipe. When I lived in London my neighbourhood was primarily Indidan and African – and how I miss those wonderful curry restaurants! Will have to make this to stave off my curry cravings.

  22. Jen says:

    I love Indian food, but the recipes intimidate me. This looks like something I could do, though. I think I need to overcome my fears… and if it doesn’t turn out, I guess we can always just order Indian take-out, right?

  23. Again it looks delicious. I love good Indian food. Besides the delicious flavors the colors are so vibrant. Will give it a gry.

  24. christian says:

    Looks yum! Another great Indian cookbook is “The Dance of Spices” by Laxmi Hiremath. She is based in the US as well, so has plenty of notes on where to find ingredients and things too 🙂

  25. Mmm I love Tandoori chicken. I’ve always been a little hesitant to try cooking Indian style cuisine because the flavours are so exotic and seemingly complex that I fear I won’t be able to get it right and create the true authentic flavour. Yours looked like it turned out great though so now I’m a little less scared to try it out!

  26. P. Graham says:

    I have tried to make Indian food before and it came out HORRIBLE. Your recipe seems simple enough so I may try it this weekend :p Will let you know how it turns out if I make it

  27. Gary says:

    I love having a good Garam Masala handy… I am more traditional as I add a bunch of chilies, pepper, coriander, and pan toast everything to max out that flavor.

  28. P. Graham says:

    I LOVE chilies!

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