Whether you are cooking for one or a crowd, this recipe for roast chicken and vegetables slathered in a tamarind and spice rub which includes earthy garam masala and tangy sumac, is a great one to have on hand.
We are a family of weather buffs. We actually look forward to the weather forecast on TV. We have weather apps, smart phone widgets, alerts… you know, the works. Even the little one joins in on our enthusiasm for prediction.
But sometimes predictions go awry. Just when you think you are going to have a good day, in roll the thunder clouds. Murphy’s Law is no joke.
The mister spoke too soon when he said we might not have any more winter days this season. And, here we are. Thunder, lightning, rain and freezing temperatures; thank you very much.
The only upside to all the cold weather is that I actually look forward to turning the oven on. I can be all toasty and cozy in my kitchen while the guys freeze their toes off on the couch. And in such lousy weather, we can have good food to lift our spirits.
Roast chicken or oven baked chicken is always welcome in our dinner menu, especially when the weather calls for something warm and nourishing. It satisfies everyone; add a bunch of vegetables to the pan and you have an instant side as well. I love experimenting with spice rubs and marinades – Indian, Mediterranean, Oriental or Caribbean, we love them all. This time, I went for bold flavors, with a little inspiration plucked from here and there.
I call this my tamarind spice rub chicken. The chicken is rubbed with some crushed ginger and garlic, thick yogurt, turmeric, garam masala and some tangy tamarind pulp. Usually I would use lime or lemon juice to tenderize and flavor the meat, but on a whim, I used thick tamarind pulp to rub the pieces with. Just before popping into the oven, I topped the chicken with some sumac, one of my favorite Mediterranean spices. It adds a nice flavor and color to roasted/grilled meat and vegetables. The flavor is earthy with a slight tanginess. You can get it at your local Mediterranean or specialty grocery store. Tamarind is available in Indian/Asian stores or online. You can either buy the dried fruit which must be reconstituted in warm water to extract the pulp, or a bottle of ready-made concentrated pulp.
I like to serve this oven grilled chicken with thick and smooth yogurt and some Indian breads on the side. Plain, simple comfort food. Use your cast iron skillet for this recipe, if you have one. They really help to seal in the juices and develop a nice char on the meat. I broke in my new mini skillets to make individual portioned roast chicken and vegetables. If you do not have one, just use a large baking pan. An easy one pan meal is ready in under an hour.
- Chicken thighs - 4, bone-in pieces preferred
- Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tbsp
- Tamarind pulp - ¼ cup (extracted from a lime-sized ball of tamarind fruit or use just 1 tbsp concentrate)
- Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
- Red chili powder - ½ tsp (or more, if you want it spicy)
- Garam masala powder - 1½ tsp
- Salt - to taste
- Sumac - 2 tsp
- Oil or butter - 4 tsp
- Potatoes - 2 large, sliced into wedges
- Carrots - 2, sliced into strips
- Cilantro - for garnish
- Rub the chicken thighs liberally with ginger-garlic paste, tamarind pulp, turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala powder and salt. Get it under the skin as well. Allow to rest in the refrigerator for half an hour or preferably overnight.
- Just before baking, toss the vegetables with the chicken marinade. Also, pre-heat the oven to 375 deg.F.
- Coat four 6" mini cast iron skillets with a teaspoon of oil/butter each (You can also use one large skillet or baking pan). Arrange chicken pieces (skin side up) and vegetables in pans. Sprinkle sumac on top.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until juices run clear when poked at the thickest part near the bone.
- Serve with a side of raita, rice and breads.
How’s that for a juicy and delicious winter night meal?
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Are you a winter person? What is your go-to comfort food meal? Do you have any special chicken marinade recipes? Do share.
Do try this easy recipe and let me know how you like it.
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