While Deep Flavors is a kosher-style cookbook, the recipes are eclectic, Tex/Mex to Cajun to Jewish soul food, to French, etc.
This recipe is just one example; it is not truly Indian, in the sense that I suspect no Indian chef has actually made anything exactly like this recipe, just as I suspect no Italian nonna ever made my Texas State Fair Blue Ribbon Mushroom-Spinach Lasagna.
However, it adheres to my goal of wonderful flavor; the Indian flavors are accessible to the home cook while meeting the laws of kashruth relating to mixing milk and meat.
It is a riff of tandoori chicken commonly served in Indian restaurants, but I think better.
As with other variants in Deep Flavors (for example, Bouillabaisse a La Juive), this recipe is intended to be includable in a kosher kitchen but equally attractive to the non-Jewish cook. It certainly meets the standard of Deep Flavors. Therefore, unlike a traditional tandoori chicken, which is marinated in regular milk yogurt, this chicken is marinated in a variant delicious coconut- or almond-based non-dairy yogurt. The chicken is delicious even without the yogurt, if that is not available, and can be roasted in a 350°F oven for 30 to 40 minutes. As with most grilled items, this recipe is simple to execute.
The tandoori and garam masala—as well as other Indian spice mixtures or masalas—are available for purchase at many Dallas ethnic Indian food stores, Penzeys’s website, and, increasingly, at your local grocery store or online from American spice companies that are certified kosher. There are many recipes just for garam masala that are regional variants based on the source in India. I have also included in Deep Flavors the recipe I use.
Indian-Style Grilled Chicken
This recipe is easily multiplied 8 chicken thighs (bone-in and skin on — these add flavor and protect the meat during grilling)
1 cup of coconut or almond yogurt (preferably unsweetened and containing no milk products)
1 tablespoon or more tandoori masala (or another masala as desired)
1 tablespoon or more Garam Masala (Chap. 2)
2 tablespoons or more fresh ginger, finely minced or ground
3 or more cloves garlic, finely minced or mashed to a paste
1 teaspoon ground peppercorns salt to taste
1/2 cup or so cilantro, finely chopped or ground
Using a mortar and pestle (or, if you do not have a mortar and pestle, use a blender or food processor), make a paste of all ingredients except the chicken and yogurt. Use kosher salt to facilitate the grinding. Then add the spice mixture to the yogurt. Spread the yogurt-spice paste liberally over the chicken, and let it sit for up to . an hour, covered.
When moving to the grill, it is best to have a section of the grill that you turn off as you start to put the chicken on the grill so that you will have an area where you can cook the chicken over indirect heat to avoid flareups and burning. Start the chicken skin side down, flipping as necessary, and moving to cooler sections until the chicken is thoroughly cooked to at least 165–170ÅãF internal temperature next to the bone. Move to indirect cooking as needed. I find that a Thermapen or similar instant-read thermometer is essential to obtain a perfectly cooked grilled product.
I serve this chicken with Lemon Coconut Rice, or if I am serving Indian-Style Lentils, both recipes in the book, I frequently serve with plain white basmati rice. Leftover chicken makes a great snack or lunch.
For a vegetable, I suggest Pan-Roasted Cauliflower, also in the book, with the variation that before roasting, when rubbing on olive oil and garlic powder, add a sprinkle of Garam Masala and/or sweet curry powder over the cauliflower. Squeeze on lemon juice about 5 minutes before removing from the oven and serving. (Sweet curry powder is the very yellow curry powder mixture we are all familiar with. I think the mixture sold at Penzeys is superior to what is available in regular groceries, but it is not kosher.)
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