Tandoori Chicken with Kali Dal paired with Riesling

This recipe is from Food of the World Cook Book; it’s rather lengthy, but well worth the effort if you like Indian food and enjoy cooking on a Saturday night 🙂

Picked out of the hat or in our case the martini shaker, which I’ll explain in another post.

Tandoori Chicken and Kali Dal:  Serves 4


Tandoori Chicken:  Serves 4

3lbs 5 oz chicken or skinless chicken thighs and drumsticks


2 teaspoons coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 onion, roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 cup thick natural yoghurt

grated rind of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons clear vinegar

1 teaspoon paprika

2 teaspoons garam masala

1/2 teaspoon tandoori food coloring (optional)

REMOVE the skin from the chicken and cut the chicken in half.  Using a sharpe knife, make 1/8″ long diagonal incisions on each limb and breast, taking care not to cut through to the bone.  If using thighs and drumsticks, trimaway any excess fat and make an incision in each piece.

TO MAKE the marinade, place a frying pan over low heat and dry-roast the cumin seeds.  Grind the roasted seeds into a fine powder using a spice grinder or pestle and mortar.  (We use ground cumin and skip this step)  In a food processor, blend all the marinade ingredients to form a smooth paste.  Season with salt, to taste.  Id you don’t have a food processor  chop the onion, garlic and ginger more finely and mix with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.

MARINATE the chicken in the spicy yoghurt marinade for at least 8 hours, or overnight.  Turn the chicken occasionally in the marinade to ensure that all sides are soaked.

HEAT the oven to 400F.  Place the chicken on a wire rack on a baking tray.  Cover with foil and roast on the top shelf for about 45-50 minutes or until cooked through (test by inserting a skewer into a thigh – the juices should run clear).  Baste the chicekn with the marinade once during the cooking.  Remove the foil 15 minutes before the end of cooking, to brown the tandoori mixture.  Preheat the grill to it’s highest setting.

PRIOR to serving, while the chicken is still on the rack, heat the ghee, pour it over the chicken halves and cook under the grill for 5 minutes to blacken the edges of the chicken like a tandoor.

Kali Dal

9oz whole black gram

1 onion, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

2 inch piece of ginger, roughly chopped

1 green chilli, roughly chopped (this time we used a jalapeño since we had them in the house)

1/2 cup oil

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon chilli powder

3 tablespoons garam masala

1/2 cup single cream

PUT the whole black gram in a large, heavy based saucepan add 8 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hou, or until the dal feels soft when pressed between the thumb and index finger.  Most of the dal will split to reveal the creamy insides.  Drain, reserve the cooking liquid.

BLEND the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli together in a food processor to form a paste, or finely chop them together with a knife.  Heat the oil in a frying pand and fry the onion mixture over high heat, stirring constantly, until golden brown.  Add the cumin and coriander and fry for 2 minutes.  Add the dal and stir in the salt, chilli powder and garam masala.  Pour (1 1/4 cups of the reserved dal liquid into the pan, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Just before serving, stir in the cream and simmer for another 2 minutes to heat through.

Wine:  $8.99 purchased at Trader Joe’s

Chateau Ste Michelle, Columbia Valley, Riesling, 2011

The crisp refreshing flavor of the Riesling complimented the Indian spices and tamed the heat from the dal.  I would definitely pair these together again.



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