Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori ChickenLucky Thirteen
Every year at this time I get a little crazier than normal…it’s birthday week. In the span of 6 days we will celebrate the Boys’ birthday, my birthday, Mother’s Day and my Daughter’s birthday—all on top of our usual insane schedule.

Not surprisingly, food plays a big role in our celebrations. Birthdays, at least for the kids, start in the morning with the Donut Cake which is basically a bunch of donuts piled on a plate with candles in it. Not complicated, but still awesome. And, as always, the birthday boy or girl, gets to pick what they would like for their birthday dinner. Sometimes we go out to eat. Other times we stay home and eat whatever they request. This year we had scheduling issues so we did a little of both. Gotta love Birthday Take-out!

When I was pregnant with the boys I craved Indian food 24/7—the spicier the better. I guess it should come as no surprise how much they love it, too. So for their birthday dinner, we ended up with container upon container of their favorite Indian dishes from our go-to Indian restaurant. This was followed up with some awesome (if not a little bit smashed) ice cream cake.

At 13, the days of the boys’ bouncy house parties are behind us. And, I am okay with that even though it means that they are growing up. It also means that have progressed beyond chicken nuggets to the good stuff like this…

Tandoori Chicken
Yields 4 to 6 servings
Tandoori Chicken is surprisingly easy to prepare for a weeknight dinner. The trick is to prepare the marinade the day before and set it in the fridge overnight. If you want to get fancy, you can purchase the red tandoori coloring from an Indian grocer. Ours isn’t as colorful, but it is equally delicious!

8 saffron threads
1 tablespoon boiling water
4 skinless chicken thighs
4 skinless chicken legs
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder (depending on your spice preference)
10 turns fresh ground black pepper
1 cup full-fat plain yogurt
juice of one fresh lime
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic peeled and finely minced

Soak the saffron in the tablespoon of boiling water for about five minutes.

Score each piece of the chicken three times, deeply,  with a sharp knife. And, place it in a large zippered freezer bag.

Add all of the remaining ingredients to the bag, including the saffron water and threads. Squeeze out as much of the air as you can, and seal the top. Massage the bag to mix the ingredients and coat the chicken.

Refrigerate the bag of chicken overnight.

The next day, heat a pan with hot oil. Remove the chicken from the marinade and fry it with the thick marinade clinging to the pieces until dark on one side. Then flip each piece and fry until darkened on the other side.

To test for doneness, stick a knife into the thickest piece to make certain the chicken is cooked through. If you need to continue cooking, add a bit of water to the pan to loosen any caramelized bits, and place in a 350 ºF oven for about 10 minutes, or until cooked through.

Another option is to cook the chicken on your BBQ.

Tandoori Chicken tastes great with simple, steamed rice, and is delicious eaten both hot and cold.

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