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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Grilled to perfection

An Indian twist to the Australia Day barbecue tradition

Reading Time: 3 minutesSummer has been pretty intense this year, hasn’t it?
But that hasn’t stopped our love for backyard barbecues. After all, what can be more fun than chilling out with family and friends, a couple of beers and some delicious food.
When you talk about grilling, tandoori chicken cannot be far behind – a dish that needs no introduction at all.  It has become a global favourite and has staunchly become the face of Indian cuisine in most countries, apart from the curry of course.
Tandoori Chicken.IndianLink
 
Even though most of us might not have a traditional tandoor at home, it’s quite easy to prepare tandoori fare on a barbecue grill, oven or even on a stove top grill depending on the kind of protein or vegetable that is being cooked.
I always make the tandoori marinade from scratch. Not a big fan of store bought masalas and moreover, the marinade is super easy to make. Many versions call for the addition of gram flour but using only yoghurt imparts more flavour without that doughy taste to the coating.
For this dish, I have used the tandoori marinade for both the chicken thighs as well as the vegetables. While I cooked the thighs on a barbecue grill, I used a regular stove top grill for the veggies. Couscous pairs beautifully with a dish like this; it’s light and fluffy texture is a perfect accompaniment to the chicken and veggies. And a drizzle of the tangy mint coriander chutney completes the dish perfectly.

Tandoori Chicken Thighs with grilled vegetables and couscous

Tandoori marinade

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup thick yogurt
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to heat preference)
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin/jeera powder
  • ¼ tsp black salt/kala namak
  • ½ tsp chaat masala
  • ¼ tsp dry ginger powder
  • Salt to season
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

Method

In a bowl, add all the ingredients and whisk well to get a smooth consistency.
Tandoori Chicken.Indian Link

Chicken

Ingredients

  1. 5 chicken Maryland/thighs; score lengthwise
  2. 1 cup tandoori marinade
  3. Salt to season
  4. Vegetable oil, for barbecue

Method

  • In a bowl, add the required tandoori marinade to the chicken thighs. Season with salt (remember, the marinade has salt) and rub the marinade well into the chicken. Keep refrigerated for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  • Bring to room temperature before grilling.
  • Fire up the barbecue and grill the chicken pieces till done.

Grilled vegetables

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion, cut into cubes
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into cubes
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into cubes
  • 1 punnet baby corn
  • 1 small broccoli, florets separated
  • 1 small fennel bulb, cut into cubes
  • ½ cup tandoori marinade
  • Salt, to season
  • Vegetable oil, for grilling

Method

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Place all the vegetables in a bowl, add the marinade and season with salt if necessary. Mix well and keep for at least 1-2 hours.

  • Heat a stove grill to high, brush with oil and grill the veggies in batches. Remember to grill on high to get the char but still keep the crunchy texture.

Tandoori Chicken.Indian Link

Couscous

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups couscous
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • Salt to season

Method

Add 2 ½ cups boiling water to 2 ½ cups couscous (1:1 ratio), season with salt, cover and keep aside. After 10 minutes, use a fork to lightly fluff up the couscous.
Note: Do check packet instructions as the ratio of water to couscous can sometimes vary.

For garnish

  • Lemon wedges
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves; finely chopped

To assemble

  • Place the couscous in the middle of a large platter and arrange the grilled veggies around it. Garnish with half of the coriander leaves.
  • Place the chicken thighs on another platter, garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with lemon wedges and mint coriander chutney.
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