Last night I was swamped with running around to different laundromats, getting the kids ready for the week, working on Lance's birthday party stuff, and catching up on a workout I missed and I was feeling overwhelmed early in the day regarding dinner. I was in a rush to get it started because it needed time to marinate, but Lance stepped in and saved the day with dinner! Not that I am implying that he doesn't cook - quite the contrary! But his cooking methods are completely different than mine. He generally grills when he cooks, using whatever spices he feels like, experimenting with different combinations, or creating a new marinade on a whim. I really like trying recipes (you haven't noticed?), and since I'm not culinarily creative, I tend to follow them almost precisely.
When Lance offered to cook, I figured he would just do his thing with the thawed chicken, but he said "No, show me what you wanted to make and I'll do it." His response to the recipe (which I found on Simply Recipes a while back) was quite hilarious since he doesn't tend to "do" this kind of meal, but he chugged away and followed every single step. I guess it helped having Alex perched on the floor next to the spice Lazy Susan cabinet on the ready for Daddy's spice roll call.
Anyways, the aroma of all the spices the marinade created was intoxicating. We don't really do much Indian food, and I wasn't quite sure how the smell would equate to taste, but I was definitely intrigued. By the time I came home from the laundromat (I'm still praying to the laundry gods for my own washer and dryer!), dinner was on the table and looked and smelled fantastic!
Did I forget to tell you that it tasted fantastic, too? It had its own curry-type flavor, but it wasn't overwhelming as sometimes curry tends to be (at least to us). It was mild enough for those with less adventurous palettes, but flavorful and exotic enough to be memorable.
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 minced garlic cloves
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
4 leg quarters, or its equivalent, skinless, bone-in
1. Heat the oil in a small pan over medium heat, then cook the coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, garam masala and paprika, stirring often, until fragrant (approximately 2-3 minutes). Let cool completely.
2. Whisk in the cooled spice/oil mixture into the yogurt, then mix in the lemon juice, garlic, salt and ginger.
3. Cut deep slashes (to the bone) in 3-4 places on the leg/thigh pieces. Just make 2-3 cuts if you are using separate drumsticks and thighs. Coat the chicken in the marinade, cover and chill for at least an hour (preferably 6 hours), no more than 8 hours.
4. Prepare your grill so that one side is quite hot over direct heat, the other side cooler, not over direct heat. If using charcoal, leave on side of the grill without coals, so you have a hot side and a cooler side. If you are using a gas grill, just turn on one-half of the burners. Use tongs to wipe the grill grates with a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil. Take the chicken out of the marinade and shake off the excess. You want the chicken coated, but not gloppy. Put the chicken pieces on the hot side of the grill and cover. Cool 2-3 minutes before checking.
5. Turn the chicken so it is brown (even a little bit charred) on all sides, then move it to the cool side of the grill. Cover and cook for at least 20 minutes, up to 40 minutes (or longer) depending on the size of the chicken and temperature of the grill. The chicken is done when its juices run clear. Let it rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. it's also great at room temperature or even cold the next day. Serve with naan, an Indian flatbread, or with Indian style rice, with a yogurt-based raita on the side.