Monday, September 12, 2011

Tandoori Nights

When I was young and free my then boyfriend (now husband) & I spent 3 months in India. Many of the memories are fading now but I am still clinging onto my food related ones.  Tandoori Nights was a restaurant in Jodhpur. The tables were outside in a garden dimly lit by strings of fairy lights and I remember the feel of the dewy grass on my feet. Anyway the star was the tandoori chicken. Flame red & slightly charred but with succulent flavourful meat.

Evil bunny eyes..
I have been meaning to cook up an India feast for a while now but have only just made a trip to Jane's Foods, a proper India supermarket, to stock on authentic ingredients.  
My recipes are loosely based on Madhur Jaffrey's (dahl), Keith Floyd (tandoori chicken) & Gordon Ramsay (fruit salad) with my own additions/amendments.  The pakora recipe was a mix of the one from the back of the gram flour packet & this great blog. Mr Maker is the bread expert in our house so he made the Naan.

Aubergine pakora with cucumber raita
Tandoori chicken
tomato salad
Spiced fruit salad

Aubergine Pakora

2 cups of finely chopped aubergine (can use any veg)
2 small red onions chopped
2 green chillies chopped (more if you want them hotter)
3 cups of gram flour
approx 1 1/2 cups of water
handful of chopped curry leaves
Pinch of salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp gram masala

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Stir in the onion and aubergine.  Gradually add the water to the flour mixture until a stiff batter forms.  You may not need all of the water.  Leave for 30 mins.
Heat oil (I used peanut oil) to just smoking point. We shallow fried so had about 3" depth of oil. Drop about a tablespoon of mixture into the oil and turn frequently until golden on all sides. Drain on paper towel. 

Tandoori chicken

4/5lb chicken jointed into 8 pieces
juice of 2 lemons
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp ground cumin
4 cloves of garlic minced
4cm ginger minced
1 tsp paprika
2 cups of natural yoghurt

Mix lemon juice & chilli powder and rub all over chicken pieces.  Leave for 30 mins.
Mix all other ingredients together and smear over the chicken.  Allow to marinade in the fridge overnight (min. 4 hours).
Pre heat grill then cook chicken over indirect heat until internal temperature reaches 90oC and the chicken is nicely charred. Sorry for rather vague cooking instructions, its the look & poke approach.


1 1/2 cups of yellow split peas
5 cups water
1 tsp turmeric
4 slices of ginger, no need to peel
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbs peanut oil
2 tsp cumin 
2 cloves of garlic sliced
1 tsp chilli powder

Bring water & yellow split peas to the boil.  Remove scum with slotted spoon.  Add ginger and turmeric.  Cover, leaving the lid slightly adjar & simmer for about 1 1/2hrs.  Stir in the last half hour to prevent sticking. You may need to add more water.  Add salt & garam.
In a seperate pan heat oil. Add cumin until it becomes fragrant then add garlic until it browns. Remove from heat & add chilli.  Pour over dahl and mix.

Spiced Fruit Salad

100g granulate sugar
150ml water
3 black peppercorns
1 small cinnamon stick
5 cardamom pods lightly crushed
1 papaya
1 mango
1 pineapple
2 kiwis

Put the sugar & water into a pan over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the spices and boil briefly.  Reduce heat and simmer until it thickens slightly (about 10 mins). Set aside to cool & infuse further.
Peel & slice the fruit into a large bowl. Pour over the syrup and serve.

All recipes served 6 with no left overs!  Thanks to Kim for being my photographer 

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