Tandoori(ish) Chicken (serves 4)
Marinated in spiced yogurt, this chicken gets very tender with a moist coating. It’s spicy, but not terribly hot; you can make it hotter by adding more cayenne. The name comes from the freestanding, cylindrical, wood-fired clay oven called the tandoor, which you may have seen in Indian restaurants. Food is placed on long skewers and lowered into the heat. Chances are quite good that you don’t own a tandoor, but you can approximate its fantastic, charred crustiness on a regular grill.
½ medium onion, quartered
3 medium garlic cloves
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
Juice of ½ a lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
½ cup of plain yogurt
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of ground cardamom
1½ to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts,
cut crosswise 1½ to 2 inches thick
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 lemon or lime, cut into wedges
Combine all the marinade ingredients in a blender and puree. Pour out into a glass baking dish. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Add the flour and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat a charcoal or gas grill. Just before you’re ready to cook, add the oil to the chicken mixture and stir (this will keep the chicken from sticking to the grill). Also, before you put your grate over the coals, lightly oil it too, using several folded paper towels drizzled with oil. Then, heat up the grate for a few minutes, check to see that the coals have reached medium-high heat (when you can hold your hand 5 inches above the grate for only 3 seconds), and place the chicken on the grill. Cook until browned on each side, 8-10 minutes total. Serve with lemon or lime wedges.