This summer, I've committed to learning more about cooking Indian food, a cuisine I seriously love and could not live without. I am using Madhur Jaffrey's iconic cookbook, An Invitation to Indian Cooking, and have been taking my girls on field trips to explore our local Indian market.
One of the flavor combinations I love the most is chicken marinated in yogurt. The yogurt not only tenderizes the chicken, but it lends a mellow, slighty tangy flavor. For this recipe, I combined some easier-to-find Indian spices along with yogurt to add a little spicy-ness to the chicken.
1 whole (preferably organic) chicken, rinsed and patted dry
2 cups of plain yogurt
2-4 cloves of garlic, smashed
a 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely minced
1 teaspoon each: ground turmeric, ground cardamom, ground cumin
1/2 tsp each: ground cloves, ground cinnamon
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Combine yogurt with all the ingredients and rub all over the chicken, inside and out and esp under the skin that covers the breast. Let sit covered on the counter for two hours (minimum) so that chicken comes to room temperature before cooking. Or you can leave it overnight in the fridge but do bring it to room temp before roasting.
Preheat oven to 425º. Truss chicken and place in roasting pan breast side up. Roast at 425º for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 325º and continue cooking for about an hour until legs move easily in their joints. Remove from oven and let sit 15 minutes tented with foil before carving.
Boil 2 pounds of small new potatoes until just tender. Drain and set aside. You can do this earlier in the day. I used fingerlings so I cut them up, but if your new potatoes are small enough, you can leave them whole.
In a large frying pan place:
2 tbsps of vegetable oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 a red onion, sliced
a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely minced
5 cardamom pods
6 whole mustard seeds
a half-palmful of cumin seeds
1 fresh curry leaf (if you can find them)
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
Cook the above over medium heat until fragrant and seeds are popping. Add in potatoes and toss gently. Heat through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with cilantro leaves (optional) before serving with the roast chicken. Note: do not eat cardamom pods or curry leaf, they are just for flavor.
I also discovered these treasure at the Indian market. They look screaming hot, but surprisingly they weren't. And also surprisingly, I much preferred the mango pickle to the red chili pickle. I love spicy foods, which is why I thought I would go for the chili, but the tart green mango in the mango pickle won me over. My mouth is watering just looking at this photo!