The Sauce: Spicy Yogurt Marinade – Black and green cardamom, coriander, fennel, fenugreek, cinnamon, paprika and turmeric in a thick yogurt sauce with garlic and ginger.
‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’
Worth every dime
My new Tandoori Chicken elevates your home cooking to authentic Indian.
The complex mix of aromatic, roasted spices: coriander, cardamom, fennel, fenugreek, cloves and dried chilies are ground to enhance the natural flavor of the marinade. Investing in fenugreek seeds (new spice in my cupboard), plus green and black cardamom pods are worth every dime, especially since they have longer shelf life than ground seeds. Hopefully you have the more common ones, cinnamon and paprika.
It’s amazing chicken, warm and spicy, without heat. Broiling in your home oven is the next best option to a Tandoori oven. It adapted from an Aarti Sequeira recipe, shared with noted regret. She was revealing a family tradition held tight to the chest for decades.
Recipe: Tandoori Chicken
Yield: 4 Servings
1 black cardamom pod of seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
5 whole cloves
2 dried quajillo chilies
1 cup whole fat plain yogurt
2 Tbsp peanut or canola oil
zest of 1 lime
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp paprika
/>1/4 tsp ground turmeric
pinch cayenne pepper
8 cloves garlic, microplane grated or minced
2-inch thumb ginger root, peeled and microplane grated or minced
1 1/2-2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tsp honey
freshly ground pepper
extra lime and cilantro, garnish
cooked basmati rice
Special Equipment – spice grinder, cast iron skillet, large bowl, small bowl, baking sheet, small sauce pan
1 In a cast iron skillet, place seeds from green and black cardamom pods (discard husks), coriander, fennel, and fenugreek plus cloves in a skillet. With kitchen scissors cut chilies in small chunks over the skillet to capture seeds. Toast on medium heat for 2 minutes stirring constantly. Pour mixture into a spice grinder and grind unto a fine powder.
2 In the bottom of a large bowl whisk the toasted spice mixture with yogurt, oil, lime zest and juice, kosher salt, cinnamon, paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper, garlic and ginger. Reserve 1/2 cup of this spice marinade in a small bowl.
3 Poke the chicken thighs with a fork, then add to the large bowl of spice marinade tossing to coat each piece. Place in the fridge to marinate for 1 hour or over night.
4 15 minutes ahead, heat broiler to 500 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place each chicken thigh laid out flat on the baking sheet ensuring it is coated but not swimming in the spice mixture.
5 Place the chicken under the hot broiler until just cooked through, about 15-18 minutes depending on the thickness of the pieces.
6 Meanwhile, place the reserved spice mixture in a small sauce pan with 4 tablespoons of water and the honey. Cook over medium heat just until it starts to boil, then take off the heat. Adjust for salt and pepper.
7 Place the chicken thighs on a plate and drizzle with lime juice, a splash of yogurt spice sauce and garnish with lime slices and cilantro. Serve with basmati rice, and pass around extra sauce.
I ordered my fenugreek seeds off the internet. Ground fenugreek was available locally but I really wanted the seeds roasted then ground. If you have ground fenugreek, use 1/2 teaspoon.
Cut the chicken in strips and thread on skewers then grill.
- Exchange quajillo for arbol chilies but use extra paprika for more color.
Inspiration – Aarty Sequeira
Cook with Sauces
Written by Helen Horton
Recipe Tester for The Washington Post
Photography and Styling by Helen Horton
Updated: June, 1 2015