Ramazan food diaries: Tandoori Chicken with a quick bread salad

Cooked in yoghurt and spices it is tangy and rich and delicious

Sumayia Asif June 30, 2015
Tandoori chicken. PHOTO: Sumayia Asif

Whether you want to host a dinner party or just prepare a simple but hearty meal on a week night, roast chicken never fails to satisfy. The trick to a good roast, whatever flavor we choose to cook with is a moist juicy chicken; nicely caramelized on the outside and tender on the inside.

Tender chicken considerations

While marinating the chicken for a few hours is the best way to infuse flavor, ‘brining’ is a method that helps the chicken retain moisture. Although not essential but soaking the chicken in a mixture of cold water and salt before applying the marinade prevents the chicken from drying out. Another way to keep the chicken moist is to roast it wrapped in aluminum foil and remove it in the last ten minutes of the cook.

Tandoori chicken incorporates all the flavors we love; cooked in yogurt and spices, it is tangy, rich and delicious. The lovely sticky juices that collect in the bottom of the pan during roasting make the most wonderful gravy to complement the chicken. Serve with a crunchy bread salad and don’t forget potatoes! Mashed, roast or fried, whichever you prefer.

Enjoy roasting.

6 portions chicken – legs and thighs
½ cup yogurt
¼ cup vegetable oil or olive oil
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 lime or lemon
1 2 inch piece of ginger cut into cubes
4-5 cloves of garlic halved

Dry spices:

½ teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon paprika – if available
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon coriander powder

For the bread salad:

A day old crusty bread
1 medium sized cucumber - diced
1 medium sized onion - diced
2 medium sized tomatoes - diced
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of mustard
5 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar - if unavailable replace with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
Fresh basil leaves or a herb or your choice
Salt and pepper to taste

Method for the bread salad:
Cut the bread into chunks and bake in the oven until golden and crisp.
Whisk the wet ingredients together for the dressing adding seasoning and basil leaves at the end.
Stir into the diced vegetables and crispy bread.

Method for the chicken:
Pre heat the oven to 220 degrees.
Roast the spices in a fry pan for about 30 seconds or until fragrant.
Blend all ingredients including the lemon juice and melted butter using a hand blender or a food processor until you get a smooth paste.
Score the chicken with a knife and marinate in the spice mixture.
Refrigerate for at least an hour or a few hours if there is time.
Once marinated for at least an hour, place the chicken onto a baking tray and roast for 45 minutes to an hour enclosed in foil.
Remove the foil in the last 10 minutes to get a nice color on the chicken.
Dress with the juices collected in the roasting tray.

And here you have a scrumptious chicken dinner.


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