Friday, June 4, 2010

Tandoori Chicken on the Grill

To make authentic tandoori chicken, you need a tandoor (an Indian clay oven). But this is a pretty fair substitute. The marinade is so easy that you can make it on a weekday morning, add the chicken before you leave for work, and grill it when you get home.

(serves two adults and two children)

The Marinade
6 oz plain yogurt
juice of a lime
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp kosher salt
6 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
3-inch piece fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
red food coloring (optional)

The Chicken
4 boneless chicken breasts
3 Tbs unsalted butter, melted

The Garnishes
1 sweet onion (such as a Vidalia), peeled and sliced into rings
1-2 fresh jalapenos, trimmed and sliced into rings
1-2 limes, cut into wedges
1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped

1. Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a mini–food processor or blender and process until smooth. Scrape into a glass or Pyrex dish large enough to hold the chicken breasts. (I use a loaf pan.) Make a few slits in the chicken breasts to encourage the marinade to penetrate. Add the chicken to the marinade and toss to coat well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4–12 hours.

2. When you’re ready to eat, start the grill, melt the butter, and prep the garnishes

3. Cook the chicken over high heat, flipping the breasts after 5 minutes. (The meat should look slightly charred.) Cook for another three minutes, then begin basting with the melted butter. Remove the breasts when they are cooked through.

4. Meanwhile, combine the garnishes on one half of a large sheet of aluminum foil. Fold the foil and crimp it to make a pouch. After turning the chicken for the first time, place the foil pouch on the warming shelf (if you have a gas grill) or in a cooler spot (if you have a charcoal grill). You want to wilt the garnishes, not cook them.

5. Transfer the cooked breasts to a platter, top with the wilted garnishes, and tent with the foil from the pouch. Allow the chicken to rests and the flavors to meld for 5-10 minutes before serving.

• I don't bother peeling the ginger, because the mini–food processor pulverizes the skin easily and the marinade is eventually discarded.

• Buy dark green limes because they have more flavor than light green ones.

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