Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tandoori-Style Grilled Chicken with Roasted Curried Cauliflower

I‘m a native Nashvillian. Growing up in Tennessee meant that Indian food was really not in my lexicon of food knowledge for a long time. I became familiar with it when I was a junior in college and Mary Herbert and I went on a six week adventure to University College in Oxford, England. We flew on Air India.

I will have to say, airplane food has never been nor ever will be as fascinating and as good as it was in late June of 1976. We thought we were very cool ordering wine to go with our dinners. But when the curried chicken, saffron rice, chutney and spinach arrived we were stunned. We were used to overcooked Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes and that apple crumbly thing when we had meals on a plane. This was something totally different.
And it was so good.

When we got to Oxford, we discovered that University was best for breakfast. The Market was perfect for lunch ( a piece of cheese, some fruit and a baguette) and we spent a lot of time at Indian restaurants eating supper like queens for little money.
So when I have a food memory moment from that time in Oxford, I do a little time travel in the kitchen. And get out the coriander seeds and the cumin seeds and the hot curry powder and the chutney and eat like a queen with Groom.

Tandoori-Style Grilled Chicken
Adapted from Back To Square One by Joyce Goldstein

Serves 6
1 onion, cut into chunks
2 garlic cloves, chopped
¼ cup fresh lime or lemon juice
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp garam masala
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups plain yogurt
3 cut-up chicken pieces, about 5 pounds

Puree the onion with the garlic in Cuisinart. Process in the lime or lemon juice. Then add spices and yogurt and blend to mix. Put chicken in Pyrex pans and pour marinade over and turn to coat. cover and refrigerate overnight.
Bring the chicken to room temperature. Preheat the grill to medium-medium high heat. Grill chicken about 8-12 minutes per side, reaching a temperature of 160’ when done.

Roasted Curried Cauliflower
Adapted from Epicurious.com

12 cups cauliflower flowerets
1 large onion, peeled and quartered and pulled into separate layers
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
3-½ tsps hot curry powder
1 tbsp hot paprika
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

Preheat oven to 450. Put cauliflower and onion in large roasting pan. Heat small skillet and toast cumin seeds and coriander seeds until slightly darkened. Crush in mortar with pestle. Put in bowl with remaining ingredients except parsley. Whisk and pour over cauliflower and onion and stir well. Roast for 30 minutes.
Sprinkle with parsley or cilantro and serve with chicken.


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