Makes 4 servings
Throughout India, cooking is done in tandoor ovens where the food cooks over direct intense heat; chicken cooked with this method is identified as tandoori chicken. Here's an adaptation of a traditional Indian yogurt marinade for chicken. The yogurt, a natural tenderizer, gives the chicken a velvety texture and calms down the chili powder; it also keeps the chicken from drying out as it broils. Serve Tandoori Chicken with basmati rice and Sweet and Sour Cucumber Slices (see recipe) for an Indian-style feast.
For the Tandoori Marinade
1 cup yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
For the chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 4 ounces each)
Canola oil or vegetable oil spray
Chopped scallions and sprigs of fresh cilantro, parsley or mint for garnish
Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a small bowl.
Pour half of the marinade into the bottom of a shallow glass baking dish or flat refrigerator container. Place the chicken breasts atop; cover with the remaining marinade. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 30 minutes or for as long as 24 hours.
When ready to cook, set the oven broiler rack 4 to 5 inches from the heating element; preheat the broiler.
Lightly oil a broiler pan or baking sheet. Place the chicken on the prepared pan; broil for 5 minutes. Turn and broil the second sides for about 5 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through at the thickest points; discard the remaining marinade.
To serve, transfer the chicken breasts to serving plates, garnish, and accompany with rice and Sweet and Sour Cucumber Slices.
Paulette Mitchell, a culinary instructor, television personality, spokesperson, freelance food writer, and the award-winning author of 13 cookbooks, is known internationally for her quick-to-prepare recipes with gourmet flair. Paulette's most recently published cookbook is "The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet: Creative Cuisine Made Fast and Fresh." She is also the author of "A Beautiful Bowl of Soup" and "The Spirited Vegetarian," which was voted "Best Book in the World on Cooking with Wine" at the 2005 Gourmand World Media Awards. Paulette says that international travel is her favorite source of culinary inspiration.