If you’ve been watching any food TV recently, you’ve certainly seen the barrage of ads for the new foodie-film “The HundredFoot Journey” starring the still-so-hot-even-though-she’s-almost-70 Helen Mirren. Based on the novel by Richard C. Morais (which I did read and enjoyed immensely), the film is sure to be full of images to delight anyone who loves to eat, and to cook…

Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori Chicken

In the lead-up to the films debut their social media shared several recipes, both Indian and classical French dishes, reflecting the two main culinary references (and conflict) of the story. I decided to try the Tandoori recipe, which was titled “Tandoori Chicken Wings”, but for some reason the recipe didn’t use wings, but chicken legs (and the accompanying photo also was of legs)… so of course I used thighs… I like thighs…

As usual I did monkey around with the recipe a little, but not too much. The original recipe didn’t call for any marinating time, but most tandoori recipes I’ve seen call for a good time to marinate, and I did overnight to try to better infuse the flavors into the chicken. There’s not much heat in the marinade, but you could certainly up the Capsaicin-ante if you’re so inclined with some cayenne in the marinate.

So let’s delay no further, Let’s Cook!

Tandoori Chicken

 

Marinade goodies...

Marinade goodies…

Ingredients

2 1/4 tsp  Sweet Paprika

1 Tbl  Garam Masala

1 Tbl  Ground Cumin

1 Tbl  Ground Coriander

1/2 tsp  Ground Turmeric

1 Tbl  Grated Fresh Ginger

5 Cloves Garlic, finely minced

1 Tbl  Lemon Juice (fresh-squeezed, of course)

1/2 tsp  Salt

1/2 tsp  Ground Pepper

1/3 Cup  Plain Greek Yoghurt (I used 2%, but anything from fat-free to full strength should be fine)

1/2 Cup (about)  Canola Oil

3-4 Lbs  Chicken Pieces (I used thighs, see notes at end)

1 Cup  Chopped Cilantro

1 Large Shallot, minced (if they are small, use 2 or 3, duh…)

3 Tbl  White Vinegar

 

Procedure

Mix the spices (paprika thru turmeric) and put into a dry skillet and turn the heat to medium-low.

Toastin' the spices...

Toastin’ the spices…

Stir constantly for 2-3 minutes to toast the spice mixture. When it starts to smell good it’s done (if it smells burnt, you screwed up… start over…). Remove to a bowl and let cool for a few…

Mixin' the marinade...

Mixin’ the marinade…

Add the ginger, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon of the oil and yoghurt to the toasted spices and mix well.

Meet your meat...

Meet your meat…

To allow the marinade to get inside well (and also to allow the interior of the chicken to cook thru in the high heat), cut several slits into your thighs (the chicken thighs, that is…). Most tandoori recipes call for the chicken to be skinned (and that may be that the skin would burn if cooked in the intense heat a true tandoor oven…), but we likes us some skin around here, so I kept it on… do as you wish…

Throw the chicken into a big zip-loc bag and add the yoghurt marinade and massage in well. Stick in the ‘fridge overnight and turn and massage now & then when you think about it (or whenever you open the door to pull out a beer…).

Ready for the heat...

Ready to meet the heat…

When getting ready to cook preheat oven to 450 degrees and take the chicken out of the refrigerator to allow to come to room temp. Take a big baking sheet (or sheets) with a rack and oil same… rub any overly excess marinade off of the chicken (don’t be too anal about it) and put it on the rack and stick it in the oven.

It will probably take about 30-40 minutes total (until the pieces reach about 160 degrees in the thickest part). You’ll want to turn often, so set a timer to remind you every 8-10 minutes or so…

While to bird is cooking make the sauce to go alongside…

Saucy...

Saucy…

Take the cilantro, shallot, vinegar and 1/4 cup of the oil and mix well. Add salt to taste and set aside.

Crusty...

Crusty…

When the chicken is cooked thru, take out of the oven and turn the broiler on – be sure the chicken is skin-side up (if you kept it on) and stick under the broiler to get extra-nice-and-crispy… watching carefully of course not to let it burn.

Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori Chicken

Let it rest for a few minutes (or as long as you can stand) and serve with the cilantro sauce for dipping or dousing… basmati rice alongside would be nice (maybe a nice batch of Coconut Rice?) and a veggie or two of your choice (here it’s shown with a Simple Roasted Cauliflower, but I think a more saucy-side like Manchurian Cauliflower would probably go better).

As far as your choice of chicken goes, dark meat like thighs and/or legs will hold up well to the high heat cooking, and the wings would work as well… breasts will tend to dry out, but make them if you like and just be sure to pull them out the second they are done.

This recipe would also be great cooked outside on the grill if you can set it up for a high, indirect heat for the main cooking, and then put the pieces over direct heat to crisp up at the end.

Despite the relatively long list if ingredients, this is really a pretty simple dish to prepare, and the results are a deeply flavored flesh along with some yummy crispy skin (if you keep it on). The simple sauce adds a bit of moisture and some extra earthiness from the cilantro. Pour yourself a cold Kingfisher,  pop Monsoon Wedding into the dvd player (at least until The HundredFoot Journey comes out for home viewing) and enjoy a great meal!

As always, we’re back to the kitchen, see you soon!

If you enjoyed this post, please be sure to “like” and “share”!

 

 

 

 

 

with a Brave new princess…

Merida, the latest in a decades-long lineage of Disney Princesses (and the first in a Pixar branded film), makes her official film debut in just a few days, and the film, and it’s ginger heroine, have been heavily promoted in the parks for the past few weeks.

Like many new face characters, Merida made a few test appearances at an off-the-beaten-path part of Epcot before moving to her new digs in the Magic Kingdom.

The Fairytale Garden area (most recently the home to the Rapunzel meet-and-greet, and prior to that Belle told her story here) has been transformed into the Meridia meet-and-greet…

Outside the Fairytale Garden prior to the doors opening

Outside the Fairytale Garden prior to the doors opening

Details abound in the small space…

An errant arrow

while one of Merida’s friends aids young archers in developing their skills.

The feisty young Princess meets her fans…

and introduces them to three little bear cubs who are hanging around.

And will even give an archery lesson if asked…

and Miss Bonnie took the opportunity to improve her form.

The cubs seem to approve

Not surprisingly, the Merida merch machine is already in full swing…

the cart nearby the meet-and-greet is full of Brave goodies, and more is available in the shops along Main Street.

But the Brave in-park promos don’t stop in the Magic Kingdom…

in Epcot along the Rose Walk path there is a giant, detailed sand sculpture (which now seems Disney de rigueur for any new film).

See the Hidden Mickey?

Right next to this edifice is the Highland Games Tournament.

The decidedly low-tech events are designed with the younger set in mind, but it sure seemed that there were plenty of “big kids” trying their hand at the games of skill.

After spinning a wheel to find out which family you will represent…

you got to give archery a shot, flip a “Haggis” and toss a “Cake” (there’s your requisite food references for this post)…

and wind up with the Caber toss.

Across the walkway posters promote the film…

giving a brief into to the plot.

And in the name of synergy…

Adventures by Disney has a trip to Scotland inspired by Brave.

As the opening of any Pixar film is usually something to celebrate (considering their track record of fab films), we’re looking forward to finally seeing Brave on the big screen, and the in-park promos have done nothing but enhance this desire… let’s hope that this new Princess lives up to the hype… we’ll see very soon…

With Mardi Gras just a couple of days away, I thought I share a few pictures from a meeting I had a while back with our New Orleans Princess, the lovely Tiana…

When the “Princess and the Frog” came to the big screen, I had avoided reading too many reviews before seeing it – of course I knew the basic parts of the story, and the twist on the usual tale with Tiana actually turning into a frog after laying a wet one on the froggie version of Naveen…

And yes, I did know it was based in the Big Easy, but until I was actually watching the flick I didn’t realize how much the plot revolved around food and cooking – the young Tiana’s dream is not for a Price to come and take her away, but to own her own restaurant and to make the people of New Orleans happy with her culinary creations (and honor the memory and dream of her beloved father at the same time). When the very young Tiana adds hot sauce to her dad’s gumbo I was hooked – very soon this determined, hard-working, independent,  spice-loving (and of course gorgeous) woman had become my new Favorite Princess!

So, one day I decided a gift of adoration was in order, and I brought Tiana a bottle her favorite hot sauce, Tabasco. You can now see what ensued…

Tiana told me she was so grateful as she was almost out of Tabasco and was getting ready to send Naveen out for more… hummm… maybe we can send him off for something else…

We finally got Naveen to leave...

Now I don’t know if bringing condiments to Princesses will always elicit a spontaneous hug, but I did think about taking Ariel some tartar sauce… I thought better of it…

Enjoy your Mardi Gras! Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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