AUTHOR: Julia TITLE: The Quest for Authentic (Recipe: Tandoori Chicken) DATE: 7/20/2009 11:32:00 AM ----- BODY:
When I travel abroad, I like to buy cookbooks that feature the local cuisine. Usually, they're unavailable in the US. And especially with the books purchased in Asia, they have not been tailored to the “western kitchen.” True or not, I think the recipes will be more authentic to the region. And I feel confident enough in both my cooking skills and ability to find the unusual ingredients in the Boston markets that I am unfettered by these recipes.

Thanks to the magic of the internet, Wendy Hutton's books are now available in the US. Her recipe for tandoori chicken is exceptional in flavor and tastes as good as anything I’ve eaten in a restaurant. I use this recipe for both lamb and chicken.

Mine little resembles in appearance the restaurant version since I don’t use food coloring and leave on the marinade when I cook it. I love the flavor of the marinade roasted in the butter and chicken juices, and could easily make a meal of those drippings slathered on naan. Since I don’t have a tandoori oven at home (and who does??), I cook it in a cast iron skillet on the charcoal grill outside. I was less pleased with her naan recipe and use the one from Stonyfield Farms that comes courtesy of Peter Franklin.

Tandoori Chicken
with no adaption from Singapore Food by Wendy Hutton

1 chicken, about 2 lbs.
1 tbs. melted butter or ghee

Marinade 1
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. chili powder
¼ tsp. white pepper
pinch cloves
1 tsp. crushed garlic
1 ½ tbs. lemon juice

Marinade 2
4 tbs. plain yogurt
1 heaping tbs. cilantro, pounded
1 heaping tbs. mint, pounded
1 tbs. cumin
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. crushed fresh ginger
1 tsp. white vinegar
¼ tsp. cinnamon
1/3 tsp. cardamom
few drops of red food coloring (opt.)

1. Remove feet, head and skin from the chicken and make deep cuts in the thighs and breasts. Combine all ingredients for marinade 1 and rub well into the chicken. Leave in the refrigerator for 3 hours.

2. Combine ingredients for marinade 2 and rub evenly all over the chicken, making sure some of the marinade penetrates the slits. Leave in refrigerator for at least 6 hours.

3. Brush grill with ghee or butter and cook chicken over hot coals, brushing from time to time.

Yogurt Flatbread (Naan)
1 cup warm water
1 packet dry, active yeast
1 cup Stonyfield plain yogurt
2 teaspoons salt
5-6 cups all purpose flour
4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

1. In a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of an electric mixer (i.e. Kitchen Aid), combine the water, yogurt and butter, and yeast. Mix well and let sit for 5 minutes.
2. Mix together the salt and flour, and gradually add to the liquids. If the dough becomes too stiff to mix, add a bit of warm water, 1 tbs. at a time. Knead by hand for 5-6 minutes, until dough is smooth and shiny.
3. Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for +/- 20 minutes.
4. Portion dough into 2 ounce pieces, and roll very thin (tortilla like thickness) with a rolling pin. Layer rolled-out pieces on flour dusted parchment or waxed paper until ready to cook.
5. The Naan may be cooked in a skillet (cast iron is best…heat to medium high heat, ungreased) or even on a barbecue grill. Cook about 2 minutes per side, or until desired level of doneness. Dough will bubble and rise a bit as it cooks. This is normal.
6. Serve warm.

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types DATE:7/20/2009 03:02:00 PM I do the same, picking up local recipe books when I travel. I feel like that is one real way to take the food and the culture home with you. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) DATE:7/20/2009 06:57:00 PM I've made Peter's naan, and it's delicious. Now I'll have to try the tandoori. I've hunted for English-language books in every country I've ever visited -- it's always a highlight of my trip when I find a locally published book, in English, to bring home. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Karen DATE:7/20/2009 08:09:00 PM ooo, I always hit the grocery stores/markets when I travel, but never thought to look for cookbooks as well. Great idea! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Reeni♥ DATE:7/20/2009 10:00:00 PM I love tandoori chicken - this looks wonderful! Great idea to look for cookbooks! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous noble pig DATE:7/21/2009 11:27:00 AM Oh wow, it is delicious looking and sounding too! I haven't had Tandoori in a while but this has my taste buds craving this wonderful dish. Authentic is always key as well! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Julia DATE:7/22/2009 09:24:00 AM T.W. - Do you have a favorite cookbook?

Lydia -- I had the most difficult time in China finding a good book. Did you get a good one?

Karen -- Grocery Stores and markets are key too :)

Reeni -- What souvenirs to you get from travels?

noble pig -- Sometimes it's hard to recreate authentic just because the ingredients taste so different here. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger LC DATE:7/22/2009 11:56:00 AM Good on ya. Tandoor is one of those things I've always left to the "experts," but now you've inspired me to give it a whirl.

p.s. Word verification is "Lester." Who the heck is that? ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Jude DATE:7/26/2009 10:30:00 PM Interesting recipe. I've always thought the red color was from paprika or some other spice. ----- --------