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.