There are any number of chicken marinade recipes and baking/grilling techniques. But did you know an easy way to get the rich, deep color by just oven-baking? Its soy sauce! And as a bonus, it makes the chicken tender and taste quite amazing too.
I love mixing Indian and Oriental flavors. This marinade recipe is no exception. The base is provided by traditional Indian spices like ground coriander, red chiles and cumin. Ginger, garlic and soy provide an added flavor dimension to the marinade. If you have time, you can dry roast whole red chiles, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and so on. It will add a nice smoky flavor. On a busy weekday, you can use ready-made masala powders. None will be the wiser once these guys are baked to juicy perfection.
But do try to marinate the chicken at least for a few hours, overnight would be perfect. You can mix them up, let the chicken legs hang out in the refrigerator and bake them right before dinner.
Whenever I try out a new marinade, I don’t exactly follow a recipe or remember the measurements. You shouldn’t too. It must be a personal choice. It depends on which flavors you’d like to stand out. For me it was cumin and soy sauce this time. If you want it fiery hot, add more red chili powder. If it is aroma and depth of flavor you are looking for, remember to use more cumin, coriander and garam masala. Just go easy on the salt if your soy sauce is not the low sodium type.
I also add only a moderate coating of the marinade/masala on the chicken. I don’t like to clean off a thick layer from the chicken before eating. If you’d like that, increase the amount of the ingredients used in the ratio given below.
You will need: (For 6 medium-sized chicken drumsticks)
For the marinade,
- Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
- Red chili powder – 1/2 – 1 tsp (or more, as per taste)
- Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
- Cumin powder – 1 tsp
- Garam masala powder – 1 1/2 tsp
- Ginger and garlic paste – 1 tbsp, heaped
- Dark soy sauce – 2 tbsp (or enough to make a thick paste)
- Salt – as required
- Chicken drumsticks – 6
- Oil – to grease the pan
- Lemon – 1
- Yogurt – 1 1/2 cups, whipped
- Green chili – 1, cut into rounds
- Chat masala – a fat pinch
- Cilantro leaves – a few, for garnish
- Mix all the marinade ingredients together. Taste and see if it needs more heat or salt or any other component. Adjust as per taste.
- Wash and pat dry the chicken legs. Make deep slits on the fleshy parts. Mix the marinade all over. Use your hands to coat the chicken thoroughly, none of the ‘shaking chicken and marinade in a Ziploc bag‘ business here. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight, if possible.
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 deg.F, line a baking pan with foil and grease lightly with oil. Place the chicken legs (without crowding).
- Bake for 25 minutes. Turn the legs over, baste with any leftover marinade and bake for 12-14 minutes or till done. Take them out, baste again with the marinade or the chicken juices collected in the pan and broil them on 450 deg.F for just 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and squeeze some lemon juice lightly on the drumsticks. Keep them warm covered in foil, till ready to serve.
- Quick yogurt dipping sauce: To make an easy, no-frills dipping sauce, serve them with whipped yogurt garnished with green chili, fresh cilantro leaves and a pinch of chat masala.
It is the perfect baked chicken legs recipe for any time of the week. Make this for your family on a weekday or invite people over for a weekend lunch. You could also fire up the grill then. Everybody is sure to be licking their fingers!
Do you have a favorite marinade recipe? Or do you just whip up something and keep adding stuff till it tastes good? Do share.
Here is another homemade marinade recipe for oven-grilled chicken. This one has a mish-mash of flavors including shallots, ginger, garlic, fresh mint and cilantro, garam masala and barbeque sauce. You wouldn’t believe it, but it works beautifully. Do try!
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- By Stephanie Lynn