Saturday, March 31, 2012

Tandoori Chicken with Homemade Mango Chutney

Some might consider "light Indian cooking" an oxymoron, but this Tandoori Chicken with Homemade Mango Chutney recipe proves that theory wrong! A refreshing blend of nonfat Greek yogurt, minced ginger and spices -trip to a specialty food store to track down obscure authentic Indian spices: not required- make up the classic tandoori rub, which coats the chicken, cooking into a light crust bursting with flavor. While this dish typically usually dark meat chicken thighs to keep it moist; I opted to use the leaner white meat chicken breast. Tandoori chicken is derived from the tandoor clay oven this dish is usually prepared in, but baking in a regular oven or on a grill works too. A light coat from an olive oil spritzer is all you need in the baking pan, eliminating excessive oil and butter heaviness you might find at a restaurant.
 A note on the color: tandoori chicken's bright red hue originates from a combination of cayenne pepper and paprika, but some restaurants actually just use food coloring to create the fiery color and skimp on the spice! Tumeric, a yellow spice, can make the rub more orange. Although the bright red coloring is really beautiful, be mindful that the taste will be extremely hot. Balance according to your threshold for spiciness. This tandoori marinade is versatile, so feel free to apply to shrimp, lamb, or tofu too.
I was so excited to find a mango chutney recipe to accompany the chicken, as I usually buy the bottled kind which is both expensive and pretty calorie heavy due the massive amounts of added sugar.  A time-saving tip: buy frozen mango chunks at Trader Joe's at less than $3 a bag to skip the mango peeling and dicing process.
I am going to jump over the canning process for the chutney, because it was confusing and involved extra time and effort. I was content that this one-pot recipe had a five minute prep time and 20 minute cook time; you can make the whole thing while the chicken is baking.

Tandoori Chicken (from Prevention Magazine)
Yield: 4 Servings
Prep time: 5 minutes       Cook time: 25 minutes

1 sm onion, quartered (I didn't use the onion in the marinade, the amount seemed a little excessive to me. Instead, I chopped and roasted them along with the chicken for a crunchy bite to accompany it.)
5 cloves garlic
1/2" piece ginger, peeled
1/2 cup low fat plain greek style yogurt (I used 0% fat Fage)
3/4 tsp ground corinader
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground allspice (optional)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground tumeric*
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground red pepper*
8 skinless, bone in chicken thighs (about 3lbs) (Or 8 skinless chicken breast tenders/4 chicken breast fillets)
1/2 tsp salt
*use more (plus paprika) to enhance coloring.

1. Combine onion (optional), garlic, ginger, yogurt, coriander, cumin, allspice, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, and red pepper in food processor and blend until smooth.
2. Place chicken in shallow dish. Add marinade, turning to coat chicken completely. Cover and chill overnight or up to 24 hours (for optimal flavor. Feel free to let marinade sit for less; even a few hours is sufficient)
3. Cook chicken.
To grill: Coat grill rack with cooking spray and preheat grill to high.

Remove chicken from marinade (discard marinade). Season chicken with salt and grill 12 minutes, turning once. Reduce heat to medium and grill 12 to 15 minutes longer, flipping once, until thighs are no longer pink inside and thermometer inserted into thickest part reads 170°F.

To bake: Heat the oven to 350°F. Bake for 15-18 minutes, turning once, until chicken is cooked through (checking frequently to make sure chicken does not overcook).

Mango Chutney (from Epicurious)
 Yield: 5 cups

3 medium apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (I didn't use these and increased the mango accordingly)
2 large mangoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) granulated sugar I only used 1/2 cup and it was perfect!!
1 cup (250 mL) finely chopped onion
1/2 cup (125 mL) golden raisins
1/2 cup (125 mL) white vinegar
1/4 cup (50 mL) finely chopped peeled gingerroot
1 tablespoon (15 mL) lemon juice
2 teaspoons (10 mL) curry powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) each: ground nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt

1. Combine apples (optional), mangoes, red pepper, sugar, onion, raisins, vinegar, and gingerroot in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, and boil gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until fruit is tender and mixture is thickened, stirring occasionally. Add lemon juice, curry powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt; boil gently for 5 minutes.

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