I have to admit that I am new to Indian food. Growing up, my family rarely went outside the realm of Greek and Italian food. It was not until I went to college that I even had Chinese or Japanese food. I didn’t try Thai food until after college, and I tried Indian food for the first time in law school. Although I first tried Indian food 3 years ago, it wasn’t until early this year that I had it again, and now I am hooked. We went with friends to a great place called Kabobeesh, which is stationed in an old diner car in West Philadelphia . It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the food is incredibly flavorful. I had a little help ordering from my Husband’s friend, but now I know what I like, and I want to try new things. I also wanted to try to cook my own Indian food, but I did not own any of the spices that the recipes require. One day, while waiting for my take out from Kabobeesh, I wandered into an Indian grocery store, and I found spice packs. Since they were on sale, two for one, I purchased the garam masala spice mix (as I have seen this ingredient in most Indian recipes) and the tandoori chicken spice mix (since my Husband ordered this for dinner on this same day). The garam masala spice mix that I purchased contains a great variety of spices…coriander, cumin, black peppercorns, nutmeg, etc. Apparently, if you add it to meat or vegetables, you are going to get some flavor. Set with spices, I was now on the lookout for my recipe.
Since I am only starting out on my quest to cook delicious Indian food, my eye went for the recipe with the word “easy” in the title. I added a little more garlic to the recipe, since we are garlic fans, and next time I think I may add more garam masala because although this chicken had tons of flavor, the cilantro overtook the other spices, and I would want to better highlight these spices next time.
The chicken cooks on a bed of onions, which was a neat way to cook the chicken since the onions absorbed a lot of the flavors from the chicken and provided a bonus side dish. I would definitely use the bed of onions again when cooking other kinds of chicken.
Easy Chicken Masala (from Bon Appetit, February 2010)
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 large garlic clove, pressed
1 4 pound roasting chicken, cut into 8 pieces, backbone removed
2 small onions, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In glass baking dish, large enough to hold the 8 pieces of chicken, mix yogurt, chopped cilantro, olive oil, garam masala, salt, and garlic. Then add the chicken, making sure the each piece of chicken is entirely coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
On a baking sheet, with a rim, place onions in thin layer and top with the chicken. Space the chicken evenly. Pour the remaining marinade on top of the chicken.
Roast chicken on top rack of oven until cooked through, about 1 hour.