Hello, and a happy new year! Hope you all had an aggressively indulgent festive break and are now, like me, sitting at your desks and spilling over the sides of your chair like a bag of sand slung over a wall.
Here’s a wee recipe to kick off 2012. Very straightforward, and extremely delicious. If you can’t find panch phoron, use a pinch of any or all of: fenugreek seeds, nigella seeds, cumin seed, fennel seed, celery seed. Incidentally, panch is Hindi for ‘five’, which is where we get the drink ‘punch’, because it contains five ingredients – booze, sugar, water, spices, lemon. Thanks, Etymologicon.
Usual Indian food caveats about NOT being alarmed by long ingredients list apply. This takes minutes to prep and, panch phoron aside, you should be able to find all these in the supermarket. Leave out any you can’t find.
2 chicken supremes/breasts, skin on
Small pot natural yoghurt
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp hot paprika
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp fenugreek, ground
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Pinch ground cinnamon
Pinch ground mace
Pinch ground cloves
Squirt tomato puree
2 cloves of garlic, crushed to a paste
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper
Half a cucumber
Half a red onion, very finely sliced
Small bunch coriander
Juice of half a lemon
- From the top list of ingredients, combine everything but the chicken in a mixing bowl. I would advise not adding lemon juice and salt till later if you are marinating for more than a couple of hours which, unless you are cooking this when you get back from work, you may well be.*
- Slash the skin on the chicken and rub all over with the marinade. Leave for 1-24 hours. Preheat the oven to 250C. Season with salt and lemon juice if needs be. Roast on the top shelf for 20-25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, halve the cucumber down the middle and scrape out the seeds. Discard. Slice the cucumber and add to the sliced red onion. Toast the spices in a dry frying pan for a minute or so, taking care not to burn. Add to the salad along with chopped coriander, lemon juice, olive oil, and a pinch of salt.
- Rest the chicken for five minutes before serving with the salad and rice or naan.
* The lemon juice will toughen the meat, the salt dry it out a little.