Not only does Madhur Jaffrey have the notch of award-winning actress in her belt, she's the Julia Child of Indian cuisine. Born in Delhi, she first pursued a career on stage and on the big screen with much success. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that her culinary skills were noticed and she was catapulted into the world of cooking shows and cookbooks. Thanks to her, much of the Western world was introduced to the fragrant foods of India and the Far East.
I’m still somewhat of a novice when it comes to cooking Indian food but when I do, I often seek out Jaffrey’s recipes. So of course I was delighted when Borzoi Cooks (via Knopf Publishing) included a sneak peek from her new cookbook, At Home with Madhur Jaffrey, which will grace shelves on October 19th, in their latest newsletter.
Like many of her recipes, this Tandoori-Style Chicken with Mint did not disappoint. The yogurt marinade, full of fresh ginger, onion, garlic and spices, produced fantastically flavorful, tender chicken. And the best part? No tandoor required.
Indian cooking can seem complex but this recipe eliminates the intimidation factor. Get the chicken marinating the night before (it needs at least 8 hours) and all you have to do the next day is cook some basmati rice, whip up a little mint yogurt sauce and chop cucumbers for salad. New to Indian food? This is a great place to start.
Tandoori-Style Chicken with Mint Recipe
This chicken is incredibly versatile since it tastes just as good cold as it does hot. From At Home with Madhur Jaffrey. Serves 4.
Note: An 8-24 hour marination period is required.
4 whole chicken legs (about 2 3/4 pounds), skinned and separated into drumsticks and thighs
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
One 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 teaspoons ground cumin seeds
1 cup plain yogurt
3 tablespoons olive or canola oil or ghee
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
Cut 2 deep diagonal slits into the fleshy parts of each thigh and 2 diagonal slits into both fleshy sides of each drumstick. Rub both sides with the salt and then the lemon juice. Set aside for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the onions, garlic, ginger, cayenne, garam masala, cumin, and yogurt into a blender and blend until you have a smooth paste.
Put the chicken and all accumulated juices in a bowl. Add the paste from the blender and mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight or 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 500°F.
Remove the chicken from the marinade (smoothing off the excess) and lay the pieces in a single layer on a baking tray. Brush with oil and then sprinkle with half the mint. Bake 15 minutes.
Turn the pieces over, brush with more oil, and sprinkle the remaining mint over the top. Bake another 5 minutes.