Thursday, June 10, 2010

Grilled Chicken Paillard Tandoori (for your chutneys)

Now that you have some Watermelon Rind or other kind of Chutney, here's a really simple chicken recipe to go with it.

Paillard of Chicken Breasts Tandoori
Serves 4

This recipe is adapted from the Time-Life Foods of the World series, The Cooking of India. I find this series to turn out dishes with authentic flavors. I first had Tandoori Chicken at Moti Mahals in Old Delhi, and this marinade is remarkably similar. Our chickens are a lot different; I think they eat a lot more than the Indian ones.

A Paillard is a method of preparing meat that involves flattening it. This not only shortens the cooking times considerably, but also tenderizes the meat.

4 chicken breast, skinless and boneless
1/2 Tsp. Saffron threads
2 Tsp. Hot Water
8 oz. Plain Yogurt
1/4 Cup fresh Lime Juice
1 Large Garlic clove, crushed
1 1/2 Tsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Ground Ginger
1/2 Tsp. Turmeric
1/4 Tsp. Ground Cumin
1/4 Tsp. Ground Coriander
1/4 Tsp. Cayenne
1/4 Tsp. Red food coloring (optional)
1/4 Cup Butter or Ghee, melted*

To make the paillards, place the chicken breasts into a freezer bag, or lay them between two sheets of plastic wrap. Either use a meat mallet, or a rolling pin to flatten the chicken breasts to an even thickness, about 1/4".

Soak saffron in hot water in a large bowl 5 minutes. Add yogurt, lime juice, garlic, salt, and spices. In India, red food coloring is often included; I leave this to your discretion.

Make a few shallow incisions in the paillards. This is to allow the marinade to penetrate. Put the chicken into the marinade, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or more, turning occasionally.

Heat the grill; the paillards take just a 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Serve with your chutney, rice pilaf, dal, and a salad.

I recommend a dry Gewerztraminer to go with this dish, lightly chilled, please. An Anderson Valley Handley vineyard would be perfect.

*To make Ghee (Indian clarified butter), heat 1/2 cup unsalted butter until it is boiling; reduce the heat to medium. A foam will appear and then disappear. The Ghee will be done when a 2nd foam forms on top of the butter, and the liquid turns golden. There will be brown solids in the bottom. Pour through cheesecloth into heatproof container. Store airfree; Ghee does not need refrigeration and will keep for a month.

I recommend getting a copy of the out-of-print book: The Cooking of India: Foods of the World Time Life Series

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