Today’s experiment is vaguely Indian in spirit, although I’ve not actually seen anything exactly like it in any of my Indian cookery books. While my wife was travelling recently, I cooked some chicken pieces using lemon zest in an Italian style pesto as a marinade and, since I had chicken (and fresh lemon) leftover, I thought I would experiment a little further, this time working with the flavors of the east…
- 1 ½ lbs. Chicken pieces;
- ¾ tbsp. Salt;
- 1 tbsp. minced Lemon Zest;
- 1 tsp. Sugar;
- 3 tbsp. Lemon Juice;
- 1 ½ tbsp. Turmeric;
- ¾ tsp. Cardamom Powder;
- ¼ tsp. Cayenne Pepper;
- 1 tsp. Amchoor Powder;
- 1 tsp. Cumin seeds;
- 2 tbsp. Butter or Ghee;
First, mix together the lemon zest, sugar and salt and, in a separate dish, combine the turmeric, cardamom, cayenne and amchoor.
Make several slashes in the skin and flesh of the chicken pieces. Rub them first with the lemon juice and then with the lemon zest mixture, making sure you get plenty into the slashes and under the skin. Set aside for a good 30 minutes or so.
Now rub the pieces well with the spice mixture and, again, work some under the skin and into the slashes. Cover and refrigerate for several hours, or overnight, to allow the flavor to penetrate.
Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees and, while it is warming, toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan until they give off their fragrance and are just beginning to brown. Add the butter and, when it is melted remove from the heat and keep warm in a small bowl until needed.
Finally, bake the chicken on a wire rack, turning once during cooking, and baste several time with the butter, making sure that some of the cumin seeds adhere to the chicken skin. You will need to bake it for about 30 minutes or so and, if you like, you can give it a quick blast under the broiler to give it that nice ‘Tandoori’ look. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and then serve.
Well, this was very tasty, and the chicken was nice and moist. I liked the hint of lemon and cumin but I was a bit disappointed that the cardamom really didn’t come through. Unfortunately, I was a bit cautious with it as this spice is very aromatic and can easily overwhelm dishes if one is not careful. Next time, I would use half as much again, at least. Still, this made a lovely supper and the second piece that I saved for lunch the next day was just as good.