Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tandoori Chicken

from Cook's Illustrated

Very easy to prepare, moist and flavorful. If you are hungry for tandoori, this is a great recipe. I made is with store-bought garam masala. --PKS

We prefer this dish with whole-milk yogurt, but low-fat yogurt can be substituted. If garam masala is unavailable, substitute 2 teaspoons ground coriander, ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon ground black pepper. It is important to remove the chicken from the oven before switching to the broiler setting to allow the broiler element to come up to temperature. Serve with basmati rice and a few chutneys or relishes.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon garam masala (see note)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (see note)
4 tablespoons juice from 2 limes, plus 1 lime, cut into wedges
2 teaspoons table salt
3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts (breasts, thighs, and drumsticks, or a mix, with breasts cut in half), trimmed of excess fat and skin removed

1. Heat oil in small skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add garam masala, cumin, and chili powder; continue to cook until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds longer. Transfer half of garlic-spice mixture to medium bowl; stir in yogurt and 2 tablespoons lime juice and set aside.

2. In large bowl, combine remaining garlic-spice mixture, remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice, and salt. Using sharp knife, lightly score skinned side of each piece of chicken, making 2 or 3 shallow cuts about 1 inch apart and about 1/8 inch deep; transfer to bowl. Using hands, gently massage salt-spice mixture into chicken until all pieces are evenly coated; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

3. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat oven to 325 degrees. Pour yogurt mixture over chicken and toss until chicken is evenly coated with thick layer. Arrange chicken pieces, scored-side down, on wire rack set in foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Bake chicken until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 125 degrees for breasts and 130 for legs and thighs, 15 to 25 minutes. (Smaller pieces may cook faster than larger pieces. Transfer chicken pieces to plate as they reach correct temperature.)

4. After removing chicken from oven, turn oven to broil and heat 10 minutes. Once broiler is heated, flip chicken pieces over and broil until chicken is lightly charred in spots and instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 165 degrees for breasts and 175 for legs and thighs, 8 to 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to large plate, tent loosely with foil, and rest 5 minutes. Serve with chutney or relish, passing lime wedges separately.

Serves 4.

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