There is so much catch up I want to do on this blog. Let’s start with our home’s recipe for tandoori chicken. This recipe meets all my criteria: its a healthy food choice, easy to make and affordable. Let’s go:
Easy to make – This is simple because its based on a quick marinade and the flavor can stick in as little as half an hour. In a medium bowl, for each pound of chicken spoon in:
- 2 tablespoons of non-fat plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon of Tandoori masala
- 2 teaspoons of ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/3 teaspoon tumeric
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (more if you want)
- 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro (optional)
- 2 teaspoons of garlic and ginger paste (optional)
Mix together well. Toss in the chicken and mix so all sides are coated. Make sure your chicken is skinless and cut out all chunks of fat that you can. This is essential for this to be healthy. For the Tandoori and garam masala, I happen to use Rajah masala which can be found at most Indian grocery stores but use what you have. I only mention it for those people who are not familiar with how to shop for the spices. For the other spices, see if you can find a place which sells the ground coriander or tumeric in bulk!
Also add chopped vegetables, cut into chunky pieces: 1 bell pepper (any color), 1 small red onion, and a handful of grape tomatoes. Toss in the bowl and coat. Put the marinaded bowl of chicken and vegetables in the fridge (cover with simple saran wrap) for at least 30 minutes. Then bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
To make it affordable, I typically use drumsticks and thighs but I do try to make sure that meat is as naturally and wildly fed as possible. This time I used skinless/bonless chicken breasts which I had found on sale at Whole Foods and frozen for later use. With breasts, I could actually cube the chicken as if we were going to skewer them (chicken tikka). Now the benefit of this is that the smaller the pieces, the easier it is to coat and the shorter the time that is needed for the marinade to adequately flavor the meat. I was able to marinade the cubed chicken for only 30 minutes and achieve full flavor. So, with whole pieces of chicken meat, it will take more time to flavor. Here, I would also take the extra step of poking holes in the meat with a fork or a knife to let the marinade soak in. Of course, the longer you can let the marinade sit the more the food will reward you. But we were cooking on a hungry stomach on a Sunday night and this is what worked!
I put aluminum foil on a broiler sheet (you can use nonstick baking sheet) and sprayed olive oil spray (because its what i had) and spread the contents of the bowl on that (cubed chicken and vegetables). You can also skewer chicken and vegetable pieces alternatively on bamboo (or other) skewers. Make sure there is a pan under the broiler sheet to catch the water that drains from the vegetables (and maybe also from the yogurt). I then baked for about 20 minutes on 375 degrees. Of course, you will have to cook it longer if you have larger pieces of meat or more than a pound of meat. Cut a piece of chicken to make sure it is cooked through.
Serve hot, with garnishes of lime to squeeze on to the hot chicken. Delicious!
We served with a side dish of asparagus and wheat cous-cous flavored simply with chicken broth.
Cost per serving, tandoori chicken: $1.30 per serving. Cost per serving includes: skinless boneless thighs from Whole Foods, Rajah Tandoori masala and Garam Masala, yogurt, 1 red pepper, 1 small red onion and limes.