As I slobbered my chicken drumsticks in a pool of gorgeously yellow marinade, I tried to remember the first time I made them. I could not. Which is strange, because until very recently, I considered cooking with Curry Powder, a complete blasphemy, especially when done by Indian cooks.
You see, in India, different recipes uses different spices in various proportion. One recipe might call for just cumin and ginger, while another one might call for cinnamon, cardamon and cloves with little coriander. It is very difficult and unfair to generalize the proportion of various spices. Using Curry Powder, which is a generic blend of Indian spices, the recipe and the region it comes, from looses its distinctiveness; its uniqueness.
However, when I think hard, Indian cooking is a bit elaborate. We don't feel it, because we have grown up seeing our moms and grandmoms do it day in and day out. It doesn't overwhelm us as it is ingrained in our DNA. But for someone new to Indian cooking, the list of different spices can be a bit intimidating. The use of Curry Powder definitely simplifies the game.
When we paid an impromptu visit to my dear friend Sarani of Cocoawind, on a cold evening, she treated us to an amazing chicken kebabs. The flavor was familiar, yet new and different. "It is Curry Powder," she said, little embarrassingly. I thought it was genius.
A few weeks later, when I asked her for the recipe, she said it was one of those random put together recipe depending on what she had on hand that day. All she remembered was adding Curry Powder and lightly roasted Chickpea Flour (Besan).
Keeping the Curry Powder and Chickpea Flour (Besan) constant, I tweaked the recipe to come up with a version, that is well loved in my house. I have always thought yogurt tenderizes the chicken meat beautifully. Yogurt along with the usual Ginger Garlic Paste, Curry Powder and Roasted Chickpea Flour forms the base of the marinade. I love adding a little honey. It brings a depth of flavor and the sugar in it caramelizes brilliantly and gives a gorgeous color to the finished kebabs.
Since, Sid loves Chicken Drumsticks a lot, I usually make Tangri (Chicken Drumsticks) Kababs, Visit my other post on Tangri Kababs, to check how I roast the Chicken legs in the oven using the 'Broil' mode.
But do not restrict this wonderful curry flavored marinade to drumsticks only. I often marinate chunks of chicken breasts or thigh pieces along with chunks of bell peppers and onions. Later, I thread them alternately in a skewer and grill it on a grill pan or broil it in the oven.
Back home, Curry Powder might not be something we frequently use. The chicken curry made with store bought Curry Powder will never taste like my Mom's version. But in this country, we all are super busy and time is at a premium. We are always looking out for short cuts and convenience. The small jar of yellow goodness is a pretty handy one to have in your pantry.
Please do give recipe a shot. I am sure you'll not be disappointed.
|Recipe Snapshot: Curry Flavored Chicken Tangri Kebabs|
Serves: 4 serving
(1 serving = 2 pcs)
What I used:
Skinless Chicken Drumsticks - 8 nos
Yogurt - 1/2 cup
Ginger-Garlic Paste - 2 tsp
Curry Powder - 1 tbsp
Red Chili Powder or Paprika - 1 tsp
Raw Honey - 1 tbsp
Roasted Chickpea Flour (Sattu) - 1 tbsp
[All purpose flour can be substituted]
Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
Salt - 1 tsp or to taste
A generous squeeze of lime or lemon juice to finish off.
What I did:
1. Wash and pat dry the chicken drumsticks. Make 3 slits on each side so the the marinates reaches to the inner most flesh.
2. In a large bowl or a gallon sized Ziploc bag, combine yogurt, curry powder, red chili powder (or Paprika for a milder taste), ginger-garlic paste, honey, salt, oil and the Roasted Chickpea Flour.
3. Add the chicken drumsticks to the bowl and slobber it in the marinade. If using Ziploc bag, add the chicken legs, close the bag and squish it around, making sure every inch of all the drumsticks is covered in the marinade. Leave it in the fridge for anywhere between 2 to 24 hours. The longer it sits, the more intense are the flavors.
4. If using a outdoor gas or charcoal grill, prep it up. Once the desired temperature is reached, place the marinated drumsticks on it. Shake off the excess marinade before placing on the grill. Flip every 7-8 mins till the chicken is cooked through and the skin has a nice bronzed color.
5. If using your regular oven, preheat the oven on ''Broil" mode. Line a cookie sheet or a baking tray with aluminium foil. Use a heavy duly one or double line it. Grease it slightly. Place a cooling rack over the baking sheet and grease it too. Place the drumstick over the cooling rack and place it in the broiler. After 10 mins take it out. Flip it and put it back for another 8-10 minutes. After that, keep flipping the drumsticks every 3 mins till the chicken is cooked through and the skin has a nice bronzed color.
6. Once they are done, squeeze some lemon/lime juice on the drumsticks and serve hot with onion rings in lemon juice and green chilies.
1. The Roasted Chickpea Flour helps the marinade adhere to the chicken and also gives a nice nutty flavor. If you do not have pre-made Roasted Chickpea Flour (called Sattu in Hindi), you can dry roast Plain Chickpea Flour (called Besan in Hindi) in a dry skillet for about 1 minute on low heat or until the raw smell is gone. If you have neither, use All Purpose Flour, but the nutty flavor will be missing.
2. The same marinade can be used to marinate chicken breasts and thighs too. I often marinate chunks of chicken breasts or thigh pieces along with chunks of bell peppers and onions. Later, I thread them alternately in a skewer and grill it on a grill pan or broil it in the oven.
Curry Powder is nothing but a blend of spices used in Indian and other South East Asian cuisines. It varies widely in composition, depending on its region of origin and personal preferences. The most common ingredients in store bough curry powder blends includes Turmeric, Fenugreek, Coriander, Cumin, Cinnamon and Ginger. Some other ingredients that are occasionally added, depending on the specific recipe, are Fennel Seeds, Cardamon, Garlic, and Mustard. Most of these ingredients provide considerable potential health benefits.