Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Who’s Chicken?

Are you a culinary risk-taker or are you chicken? How about putting a little spice in your life?

When I'm looking to spice things up, I often look to the East. Tandoori chicken breasts, "dirtied" rice and broiled vegetables do it for me. Here's what you'll need to travel along:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Salt to taste

Juice from 1 lemon

1 - 1 ½ cups of plain nonfat yogurt

½ cup finely chopped onion

2 -3 minced garlic cloves

1 tsp. grated fresh ginger root

1 tbsp. tandoori or garam masala

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 tsp. vegetable/canola oil

2 c. cooked rice

2 tsp. tandoori/garam masala

½ tsp. fennel seed

Tomatoes, sweet peppers and onions cut into wedges/strips

Salt and pepper

Fresh cilantro, chopped

Lemon wedges

With a sharp knife, make several deep cuts in the chicken breasts or you can cut the breasts into skewer-sized chunks, if you prefer. Place the chicken in a bowl with the salt (to taste) and the lemon juice. Toss the chicken with the lemon juice and salt to coat the pieces. Set aside.

In another bowl, mix the yogurt, onion, garlic, ginger, masala, and cayenne pepper. Pour the mixture into a container with a tight-fitting lid or a plastic bag. Add the chicken and close the container. Turn to coat the chicken evenly. Transfer container to the refrigerator and marinate chicken for at least 4 hours. I like to do my marinade overnight.

When it's time to cook the chicken, you can grill it or bake it. I prefer using an indoor grill; I put the chicken pieces on the grill, marinade and all. A lot of liquid will come off the chicken as it cooks, so be prepared to catch that as it runs off.

While the chicken grills/bakes, put the vegetables on a baking sheet. Add salt and pepper to taste and pop the tray in the broiler. Cook until the vegetables start to char.

As the vegetables broil, heat a little vegetable oil in a pan (about 1 tsp. for each cup of rice) and add the rice with some masala (about 1 tsp. per cup of rice, more if you like more heat) and fennel seed (about ¼ tsp. per c. of rice). Toss it all together until well-mixed and heated through.

To plate, I like to use a wide, shallow bowl. Put a serving of rice on the bottom and top with the chicken and a good mixture of the veggies. Garnish with some fresh chopped cilantro and lemon wedges for squeezing.

This recipe is based on a recipe I found on Allrecipes.com, one of my favorite sites to troll for ideas.

Next time, my recipe for unfried chicken!

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