Pan-grilled Tandoori Chicken and Spinach Raita

I was craving for some tandoori flavors but the thought of all the grease was scaring me. With cuz Ashish’s wedding barely a week away, the least I wanted to do is put on more weight and not fit into saree blouses. (Yea, right. As I say this, I am cooking up decadent desserts in my head.)

So anyway, I used this temporary healthy mood as an excuse to make a quick pan grilled tandoori chicken (Why pan-grilled? Because I don’t have a tandoor. Sigh.) and a refreshingly cool spinach raita. The hot and sweet shallots added a nice edge to the smokiness of the chicken and the smoothness of the raita. I think I’m going to make several versions of this meal through the remaining summer and the ensuing monsoon.

Pan-grilled tandoori chicken with spinach raita and shallots

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • 2 breasts of chicken
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp. fresh, natural yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. tandoori masala
  • 1 tsp. ginger paste
  • 1 tsp. garlic paste
  • red chili powder, to taste
  • salt

For the raita:

  • 1 cup fresh natural yogurt
  • 10-12 spinach leaves, chopped fine
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • Pinch, cumin seeds
  • Smaller pinch, asafetida
  • Salt

For the shallots:

  • 7-8 young shallots
  • ½ tsp. chili flakes

Numbered List
Method:

  1. Clean the chicken breasts and make shallow incisions on both sides.
  2. Blend the rest of the ingredients together and leave the chicken in the refrigerator to marinade in this mixture for 2-3 hours (ideally) or about 15-20 minutes until you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  3. When ready to eat, heat a non stick pan with the merest spray of oil. (Remember, the natural yogurt will let out its own fat so do away with the oil completely if you can.)
  4. Throw in the shallots along with the chili flakes and cook for a minute. Remove.
  5. In the same pan, cook the chicken breasts on either side to achieve desired browning effect. Cover the pan for the initial few minutes to quicken the process and use lesser energy as well.
  6. Meanwhile, heat about ½ tsp. of olive oil in another pan. Crackle the cumin seeds and hiss-ify the asafetida. Add the chopped garlic and spinach and cook uncovered until the spinach wilts.
  7. Lightly mash the spinach with a fork and blend with the cool yogurt.
  8. Assemble and serve.

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