Monday, May 24, 2010

Mediterranean Night: Tandoori Chicken and Cauliflower Tabouli

With some dinners, you hit a home run on the first bite. That's how this Tandoori Chicken was--simply AMAZING. I can't wait to make it again and am so glad I made twice as much so I have leftovers :-)

The recipe called for cooking this in the oven, but I was still in grilling mode, so I did it on the grill, on medium-low. Worked out just fine and smelled divine while it was cooking. I also didn't use boneless, skinless thighs, which is what the recipe calls for (I'm really not a fan of chicken thighs or my own thighs for that matter, LOL). Instead I used bone-in chicken breasts. I'm sure you could use boneless, and I think I'll try it again with boneless next time. I just like how tender bone-in comes out on the grill.

I made the Tabouli a couple hours before dinner and it definitely tasted better after it had sat in the fridge for a while. The kids weren't so wild about it, but DH and I liked it. I sure wished I had some pita bread to serve with it, but didn't. Probably just as well--it would have ruined the whole "healthy dinner" thing ;-)

A couple tips--you can store ginger in the freezer in a zip-type bag. I buy one big piece and store it in between uses. Takes up very little space, and then you always have it around. I also store tomato paste in the freezer (in a zip bag) because I always seem to need a little bit at the weirdest times.

I served this dinner with Honey-Ginger carrots and some steamed rice.

Tandoori Chicken

6 bone-in chicken breasts (or boneless if you want to do that ;-)
juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt
1 small container plain yogurt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 small red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped (use fresh ginger, it makes such a difference)
4 teaspoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 3/4 teaspoons hot paprika
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Toss the chicken in a zip bag with the lemon juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt. In a mini or regular food processor, blend 2 tablespoons of the yogurt (reserve the rest), the vegetable oil, onion, garlic, ginger, tomato paste, coriander, cumin, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the paprika and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss the chicken in this mixture and marinade it for 15 minutes.

(Note: the original recipe, from Food Network Magazine's May issue called for cooking this in the broiler. I hate using the broiler pan. The darn thing is impossible to clean. So my directions are for the grill :-). Preheat the grill to medium-low. Put the chicken on the grill, bone side down, and cook 15 minutes. Flip, cook for another 10-15 minutes, just enough to crisp that side, then flip back to bone side and continue cooking until done and internal temperature is 165 degrees. (For me, that was about 40 minutes total, give or take). When done, remove to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining yogurt, 1/4 teaspoon paprika, the cilantro and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Serve with the chicken. (I wished I'd doubled the sauce...I LOVED how it offset all the flavors just right).

Cauliflower Tabouli

When I was in Washington DC last year, I went to a Lebanese restaurant with some fellow author friends. We had the waiter choose a variety of dishes for us, and he did a great job. One of the menu items was Tabouli, and it was fabulous. This one wasn't as good as the restaurant one, but it was pretty darn good :-)

1 head cauliflower
2 plum tomatoes
2 chopped scallions
1 bunch parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons mint, chopped (the original recipe called for 2 tablespoons but to me, adding a bit more made the flavors more even)
1/3 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
salt and pepper

Grate the cauliflower on a box grater (on the biggest holes) and put in a large bowl. Dice the tomatoes, then the scallions, and add to the cauliflower. Stir in the parsley and mint. Mix the lemon juice, oil and soy sauce and toss with the cauliflower mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let sit for 30 minutes in the fridge before serving.

Not sure what else is on my menu this week. I'm thinking of trying a Japanese pork dish. Although I just bookmarked a bunch of recipes for the grill in the latest issues of my food magazines :-)



  1. I like how the chicken was cooked! The combination of spices sounds so interesting.

  2. It was so yummy! I really enjoyed it and all the leftovers. Can't wait to make it again!

  3. Well the picture certainly looks inviting - I might make this myself one of these evenings.


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