Sunday, 12 July 2015

Food : Tandoori Chicken ... with Extra 'Saisoning'

      adjective: tan·doori \tän-ˈdu̇r-ē\
of or relating to an Indian method of cooking meat over charcoal in a clay oven

I have to admit to not being the best at planning weekday meals. The early part of the week involves using up or recycling leftovers from the weekend and I tend to wing it for the rest of the week, depending on what's in the fridge, freezer or cupboard and what's on special in my local butcher.

So having acquired some chicken legs - no jokes please - and tempted with the thoughts of a barbecue, I was looking in the fridge and spied a half a tub of natural yogurt. Perfect, I thought, I'll do Tandoori Chicken, and in the absence of a tandoor oven I'd use the barbecue.

So I pulled all the ingredients together - most are staples in our house anyway - until I hit upon a problem. Normally I put lemon in the marinade mix but I was all out and didn't really feel like traipsing off to the shops for some.

But sitting in the fridge was a bottle of my saison homebrewed beer, and so an idea formed...

The lemon normally gives a nice fresh zip to the marinade so maybe my hoppy saison could do the same job?

There was only one way to find out!

The Ingredients:

4 Chicken Legs - Skinned and Scored
250ml Natural Yogurt
3cm of Ginger Root - Finely Grated
1 Garlic Clove - Finely Grated
1 tablespoon of Tandoori Masala (spice mix) - I use the East End brand but you could make your own
1 teaspoon of Garam Masala (spice mix)
teaspoon of Ground Coriander
teaspoon of Turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of Salt
teaspoon Brown Sugar
100ml Saison Style Beer - preferably a hoppy version!
A Good Dash of Rapeseed Oil, or Any Cooking Oil.

The Method:

It's easy-peasy!

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning to suit your palate, some people like more ginger or garlic, or you could add a little chilli powder if you want more of a kick!

Put the prepared chicken in a container and pour the mix over, rubbing it in with your hands. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours, shaking occasionally. (Remember to use common sense when handling raw chicken and to clean as you go!)

Preheat the barbecue and cook for 30 mins or more with medium indirect heat until chicken is cooked thoroughly, before transferring carefully to direct heat to get a little charring on the chuck, watching carefully to ensure it doesn't burn. Try not to disturb the marinade on the chicken!

(You can use an oven and grill to achieve a similar result too.)

Remove from the heat and let the chicken rest for I5 minutes under tinfoil before serving.

I normally sprinkle the chicken with chopped fresh coriander but that was another ingredient I ran out of!

So How did it turn out? It was great - really juicy and moist with that lovely tandoori colour and taste.

Did the saison make any difference? It's hard to say but it certainly gave a similar quality to the marinade, as I didn't miss the lemon. I thought it gave another dimension or depth but that might have been wishful thinking.

By the way, the saison itself was a great accompaniment to the chicken.

As usual, enjoy and feel free to tinker with the recipe.

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