Saturday 16 July 2011

Indian Summer

My Mum was a really adventurous cook.  Our shelves were full of cookbooks by Robert Carrier and Elizabeth David.  My parents ate out and travelled and I was very fortunate in partaking and experiencing an exciting time in the 70's when people where embrassing a tremendous change in food and restaurants.  

My Mother experimented with many things but I distinctly remember a momentous moment, when what seemed like a huge bowl was placed in the larder, full of Chicken in a Tandoori Marinade.  I thought this the height of sophistication and excitement, which may give you a small clue where my future interests were going to lie.  Anyway, I can't remember the outcome but 30 years later I suddenly have a fascination with recreating this dish again.  What better than chicken, marinated with loads of Indian spices, spicy and vibrant but with none of that horrific red food colouring which has so maligned the dish today. 

But what to serve it with?  I can't remember where I first heard of Kushcumber Salad but today, the weather against all odds being July, was actually hot at times.  I  jumped at the chance, lit the barbecue, chucked on the Tandoori chicken and this refreshing, spicy salad seemed just the perfect accompaniment.  That and a dollop of Raita to cut the heat.  Closest I will ever get to an Indian Summer.

I love exploring local Indian shops and hunting out spices and herbs and all sorts of exotic ingredients but if you are having any difficulty getting hold of ingredients for these recipes, try Seasoned Pioneers.

Tandoori Chicken

1 kg chicken, legs are best (Free-range and Organic if possible)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon peeled and grated ginger root
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

Skin Chicken and trim all visible fat.  Cut into drumsticks and thighs. Prick the flesh of the chicken all over with a fork. Then, using a sharp knife, cut slashes in the flesh to allow the marinade to penetrate. Place the chicken in a nonreactive large, shallow dish.

Combine the lemon juice, garlic, ginger, cumin, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, cardamom, cloves and black pepper. Stir until well-mixed, then pour the mixture over the chicken and rub it into the flesh, turning the chicken several times.  Leave for 2 hours, then add the yogurt.  Mix really well. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. (Do not marinate for longer than 2 days.) Remove the chicken from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking.  Season well with salt.

The chicken may be grilled or roasted. If using a charcoal grill, prepare a fire for direct-heat cooking. Allow the coals to burn until white ash covers them and the heat is moderate.

Remove the chicken from the marinade, pressing lightly to extract excess marinade, and brush with oil. Place the chicken pieces on grill turning often until cooked.

Kachumber Salad

1 small red onion, very thinly sliced or a bunch of spring onions, very finely chopped
1 cucumber

1 fresh red chilli, very finely chopped
4 large tomatoes or a handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp roasted cumin powder

Juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil or Onion Oil
Salt to taste
Handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
Nigella Seeds

Take your cucumber and cut in half lengthways, remove seeds with a spoon, half again lengthways and then cut into quarter moons.

Add all the rest of the vegetables together. Make a dressing by mixing the lemon juice with the oil.  Season well with salt and mix together with all the rest of the vegetables and coriander.  Do a taste test to see if the seasoning is right for you. Sprinkle with Nigella Seeds.


  1. was it really an embarrassing change check?! - looking good, nearly got a book... x

  2. I love tandoori chicken and the salad you've done with it looks really fresh too.

  3. I love the sound of your recipe, I will definetly try this one at home x

  4. Looks yummy. I think I'm going to make this for the family.


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