I admit I have not been back to India since I was 17 years old (Golly! Has it really been 16 years?!), but thanks to my parents, who live in Dubai, I have been able to stay very close to my culture and tradition. Thanks to my dad (of course under the watchful eye of my mum) I have found easy and new ways of cooking the sometimes elaborate dishes.
Here is a great meal, that has all the fine mixture of spices from the Indian cuisine, but is also easy to prepare.
- Chicken legs
- Lime juice
- Salt and pepper
- 4-5 cloves of Garlic
- 3-4 Onions
- Natural low fat yoghurt
- Tandoori powder or masala (often available in Asian supermarkets)
- Frozen diced carrots
- Frozen peas
- Tomato paste
- 2 fresh tomatoes - finely chopped
- Turmeric powder
- Garam Masala (Indian mixed spices, also available in Asian supermarkets)
- Fresh coriander leaves - chopped
- Naan bread
The chicken legs must be marinated overnight. For the marinade take the onions and garlic cloves and put in a blender to make into a nice smooth paste. In a bowl mix the natural yoghurt, with half of the garlic/onion paste (the other half will be needed for the vegetables) and the tandoori powder/masala. If the chicken legs are not already de-skinned you will have to remove the skin from them. Ladies, if there is a man in the house, then this is always a job you can delegate to them ;-).
Sprinkle a little bit of the lime juice over both sides of the chicken legs and salt and pepper them. Now, pour the yoghurt mixture over the chicken. Cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight.
Pre-heat the oven at approx. 220°C. Lay the chicken legs on a baking tray and slide into the oven for approx. 45-60 minutes. Keep the marinade nearby as you can use this to brush the chicken every now and then. This keeps it juicy and succulent.
For the vegetables, take the rest of the garlic/onion paste and fry in a wok. After approx. 4-5 minutes add about 2-3 teaspoons of tomato paste, a sprinkle (half a teaspoon) of turmeric powder and garam masala. Keep frying this mixture on a low heat, making sure it does not burn to the bottom of the wok. You can always add a few drops of water if the mixture gets too dry. The reason this mixture has to be cooked for a while (as my mum always tells me) is so all the spices, juices and aromas, open and blend together.
Add the finely chopped tomatoes and fry for another few minutes. Now, add the peas and carrots. Mix well so that the vegetables are covered in the mixture. Pour in a little bit of water and cover the wok. Simmer for approx. 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
In the meantime, switch the settings of your oven from bake to grill mode and grill the chicken on both sides for the last 15 minutes. The last 10 minutes you can warm the naans in the oven as well.
Both Tom and me found that I had added a touch too much garlic to the vegies. It slightly dominated the taste over the other spices. So, the next time I'll go easy on the garlic. Soeri loved the chicken, as it was really nice and juicy. He ate all the vegies too and did not seem to mind all that garlic!
After all that garlic today, I hope the people we meet tomorrow won't ban us from coming too near to them!