Spring has sprung! Shanghai is currently alternating between gorgeous, sunny, warm days and, well, the usual grim and drizzly murkiness that seems to be its default mood. I, however, have been feeling remarkably sane (highly unusual) and have been quite busy with lots of little cooking projects this week. Last night we had fajitas (but with spicy sauteed chicken), this afternoon I made a massive new batch of roasted garlic oil, and tonight…we had something I hadn’t made in years: tandoori chicken.
Or rather, toaster oven chicken in a style approximating tandoori chicken. With lots of peppers to go with. Lots.
Yesterday, Doug hit the jackpot whilst picking up dinner veggies at the wet market on Taiyuan lu and came home with the biggest bag full of red, green and yellow bell peppers ever. It’s not pepper season here. Capsicum related foodstuffs of the fresh sort are thin on the ground right now. Bell peppers are like hens’ teeth. Now the crisper in our fridge is stuffed to the gills with the suckers.
And my god but they are magnificent! I cut one of each colour open for last night’s fajitas and he could smell them from the living room. The jus (if you can call it that) from the raw red pepper was a lovely deep red that stained the counter top. These were crazy fresh.
I haven’t figured out yet what I’ll do with the other half dozen still in the fridge. I’m sure I’ll think of something. Roasted, perhaps? Try my hand at a Turkish biber salcasi? It’s all very exciting.
Anyway, I decided to make tandoori chicken tonight. I didn’t use a recipe but I did consult this site for timing and temperature. Their recipe looked lovely, but by the time I found it, I’d already been marinating the chicken for several hours in a concoction of my own devising.
You may be shouting at me right now, insisting that this isn’t, in fact, tandoori chicken. I mean, it’s not bright red, right? No, no it isn’t. I’m calling it tandoori based on 2 factors: a super hot oven (the actual tandir/tandoor) and the yogurt/masala marinade. Everything else is just quibbling.
This is how I made it.
- I had 4 quite small chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, about 260g (according to the label).
- I marinated them all day in a mix made up of fresh, homemade plain yogurt (about 1/2 cup) with 2 heaping spoonfulls of fish curry masala (because I had it at hand, not because I think chicken is fish. It’s a nice, fragrant spice blend, not too heavy. You can use whichever kind you have at hand, I suppose).
- I added a half teaspoon of powdered ginger (I didn’t have any fresh ginger, alas), a few minced garlic cloves, and a teaspoon of very hot red chili powder (we were also out of fresh hot chilies- like I said, it isn’t pepper season right now).
- I let that all soak together in the fridge for most of the day.
Let me show you.
The marinade can be kept overnight in the fridge, in a closed, non-reactive container. I put mine in a glass Tupperware bowl with a lid. Don’t let it marinate more than two days. It won’t be happy.
The chicken needs to cook for about 25-30 minutes in a super duper hot oven, so allow about 10-15 minutes for pre-heating. I cranked mine up as high as it could go. I flipped them about midway through the cooking time and turned the baking tray around so they were evenly exposed to the heat (the back of my oven is a lot hotter than the front). Middle rack is best.
While the chicken was cooking, I made my chapatis.
I used the usual recipe.
When the chapatis were done, I covered them with a towel to keep them warm, then moved on to the condiments.