The first of many! (Tandoori chicken with Indian rice pilaf, curry veg stirfry and Indian rice pudding)

September 16, 2009

Let us just hit the ground running.

I was walking through the super market looking for something to prepare for dinner.  As I passed through the bakery section, I noticed several packets of Naan (a sort of Indian flat bread). As often is the case, I had a spark of genius (that’s right, GENIUS) and decided on my dinner for the following day:  Tandoori Chicken with curry vegetables and Indian rice and rice pudding for desert. I proceeded with the rest of my purchase and went home.  It was going to be a good day.

The ingredients went as follows:

For the chicken:

  • Skinless Chicken Drumsticks
  • Medium Red Onion
  • Tandoori paste from a jar
  • A little butter

For the Vegetables:

  • 1 bag frozen veg (I used Broccoli and Cauliflower in this case)
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • Curry Paste or powder (if you have it)
    However, if you don’t, a simple curry-like taste can be achieved by combining spices such as: Cumin, Ground Mustard, Ground Ginger, Turmeric, Paprika, All Spice, Ground Cloves, and Ground cardamom.  Curry is just a spice mix. So just go by the favors you like and add as much of each spice as you want.

For the Rice:

  • 1 c. Basmati Rice
  • Small Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick (3 or 4 in. long)
  • 6 Cardamom Pods
  • 4 whole CLoves
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • salt

For the Raita

  • Mint
  • Cilantro
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 c. Plain Yogurt

For the Pudding:

  • 1/2 c. Jasmine Rice
  • 1 c. Whole Milk
  • 1/2 c Light Cream
  • 3/4 c. Coconut milk
  • 1/4 c. Sugar
  • Ground Cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon

And Naan, of course!

Tandoori chicken has to marinate.  So before coating the chicken, with a sharp knife make several deep scores (cuts) in the chicken. Cover the chicken pieces with the paste (though in reality it’s suposed to marinate in a mix of tandoori paste and yogurt, but I was too lazy) and let sit in the fridge in a containter for 5-6 (or however many) hours.

Rice Pudding
Since the rice pudding needs to cool, it is the first dish that should be prepared. Cook half a cup of long grain rice (I tend to use Jasmine) to make one cup of cooked rice. In a semi-deep saute pan, heat rice and whole milk over medium heat.  When it starts to bubble, reduce the heat and let simmer till it starts to thicken.

When the rice and milk mixture begins to thicken, add the light cream, coconut milk and sugar.  Combine and use a whisk to add the spices (I don’t really have the measurements for this because I tend to do it to taste.  What I do know is I only add a pinch of ground cloves). Once again, when the mixture begins to bubble, reduce the heat and simmer until it thickens again.

Once the mixture thickens, remove from the heat, pour into a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap and push the plastic wrap all the way down so that it touches the surface of the pudding (this will prevent a skin from forming).  PLace the bowl in the fridge and let cool till it is time to eat!

Tandoori Chicken
Remove the marinating chicken from the fridge and preheat the oven to 380 degrees F.  Grease the pan you wish to bake the chicken in (I used my trusty cast iron skillet). Cut the red onion into large pieces (quarters or eighths) and add them to the pan. Place the chicken throughout the pan and throw the pan into the oven and back for around 40-45 min.  Prepare the rest of the dishes while the chicken is baking (I made the rice then the veg last).  Optional: In the last min of backing or so, melt some butter and grab a basting brush. When the 40 or so min are up, brush the chicken pieces with the butter and put back in the oven until they’re done (shouldn’t be more than another 5 or 10 min).

Indian Rice
Put the rise in a sieve and rinse the rice in cold water until the water coming through the rice is semi clear.  Then submerge the rice in a bowl of cold water and let soak (it is best to keep the rice in the sieve since this makes it easier to remove the rice later).

In a large saute pan, heat the oil.  Add the chopped onion to the hot oil and saute till the onion becomes tender.  Then add the garlic and saute for another min.  Add the cardamom, cloves, coriander, cinnamon stick, and ground ginger and stir to coat evenly.  Remove the rice from the water, shaking off as much water as you can.  Add the rice to the pan.  Stir the rice until it starts to become slightly less opaque and begins to brown.  Add 2 cups of water, the bay leaf and salt to taste (it may be wise to add a tiny bit of salt now and add the rest later as so not to over salt). When the water begins to boil, reduce the heat and mostly cover the rice (leave a small crack for steam to escape). Now would be the time to start the veggies.

After 10 min or so, the water should all be gone and there should be little holes in the rice where the steam boiled out.  At this point, turn off the heat (add the salt to taste if you have not done so already), replace the lid, and let sit until ready to serve.

Curry Vegetable Stir-fry
Prepare the vegetables according to the packet. (While the vegetables are cooking, I recommend throwing the Naan into the oven or toaster over for a few min at 200 degrees F to warm them up and preparing the Raita) Once done, heat a tbsp or two of oil in a wok or a big saute pan.  (If you have curry paste, add a tbsp of paste to the oil and mix in.) Add the veg and keep them moving as so not to burn them. Add your curry powder or spices, taste as to know what you need to add.

Raita
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until the leaves are finely chopped. Adjust flavors based on preference.

The meal isn’t exactly short, but it’s definitely worth it.

I used the following recipes as guidelines for this meal:

Basmati Rice

Indian Rice Pudding

Raita

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