Tandoori Inspired Chicken and Red Potatoes

On Saturday night I started not feeling very well, so Morgan and I spent most of Sunday just relaxing and watching episodes of our latest tv addiction – Mad Men.


If you haven’t seen Mad Men, it’s an AMC drama that begins in 1960 at an ad agency in New York City. If you can let yourself get past the exorbitant sexism of the 1960s which the show captures a little too well, it really is enjoyable to watch; however, I think I’m experiencing some unintended side effects from watching it.

I gave myself a french manicure as we watched on Sunday. I also painted my toe nails, straightened my hair and wore a skirt to work on a Monday. These things might be the normal routine for a lot of women, but for me, and all at the same time, made me wonder! My style is better described as “no muss no fuss,” or more colloquially known as “lame.”

tandoori spices

I also made a matching Indian style rice pudding to go with the Tandoori Chicken I planned. And I thought ahead enough to make a side dish. Usually all my efforts go into the main course and I skimp a little on the sides. Don’t worry, I’m sure all this primping and organization will quickly pass, but I may have done a bit of a 1960s skip when my husband started raving about how this dinner turned out.

red potatoes

As you might imagine I’m always trying new things in the kitchen, so when Morgan really gets excited about something it’s very encouraging! This is probably the closest to an authentic Indian style meal that I’ve gotten. It’s also, somehow, fairly easy to make. No painstaking prep work or hours of simmering spices – a great marinade does most of the work.


I adapted this from a David Lebovitz recipe to make it a little more accessible for every day cooking. I removed some of the more exotic ingredients, like saffron powder or saffron threads, used non-fat yogurt instead of whole milk yogurt, added in some yellow curry powder and replaced the chicken thighs and legs with simpler boneless chicken breasts. I also quartered some small red potatoes, coated them in a yogurt and curry dressing to compliment the chicken and roasted them until done.

The yogurt gives the chicken a lot of tang. It’s spicy, but not particularly hot. We really enjoyed this and hope you do, too!

tandoori chicken and potatoes

Tandoori Inspired Chicken and Potatoes
adapted from David Lebovitz

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder (use less for less heat)
8 turns fresh ground black pepper
1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon sweetened lime juice
1 tablespoon finely-minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon finely-minced garlic

Cut chicken breast in half lengthwise. Add all the remaining ingredients to a gallon ziploc bag, squeeze out the excess air and seal. Massage the bag to mix the marinade and coat chicken. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400F. Cover a large baking sheet with foil and place chicken with the thick marinade on sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cooked through.

For potatoes:
6 small red potatoes, washed and quartered
1/2 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon yellow curry powder

Add all ingredients to a large ziploc bag and massage to coat. Pour contents of bag onto baking sheet, setting some of the liquid aside. Roast potatoes for approximately 40 minutes, pouring the remaining liquid over the potatoes and turning at the halfway mark, or until a fork inserted into potato goes in easily.
*Note – potatoes do take a long time to cook, so you will want to begin this before the chicken. When potatoes are done, set in a bowl and cover with foil – they will keep hot.

If you’d like to make rice pudding for dessert, you may like to use your leftover rice from dinner with this recipe from Elise. I used this minus the raisins.

A Healthier Dal Makhani

When it comes to soups, I’m usually not a fan of cream-based broths. I don’t want a soup that rich and milky; zest, spice, hearty is what I go for! Of course, there are a few exceptions (borscht, wild rice roup), and today we’ve got another one. Dal Makhani is a delicious Punjabi soup with black lentils and cream that I’m quite fond of at local restaurants. The problem of course, as with many restaurant-made dishes, is that it tends to be rather unhealthy; as they add much more cream and butter than you or I would add in something made from our own kitchen (this is a pet peeve of mine). So what to do? Try to make a healthier version, of course!

Black Lentils

This project was a bit problematic for several reasons. First, black lentils are a bit hard to find. I scoured the shelves of several grocery stores, specialty and general, to no avail. The best I was able to find was pre-cooked black lentils at Trader Joes. Second, Dal Makhani is traditionally cooked for a very long time under low heat. Who has the time for that? I plan to try with a slow cooker one day, but for this I just settled on a short duration. And finally, there’s the whole butter and cream thing. Let’s be honest. We all have restaurant dishes that we love, due in no small part to the bad-for-you stuff they add. Better to compete with subtle flavoring than overwhelming your taste buds. This dish won’t knock anyone’s socks off, but it’s a good simple meal.

Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani
2 tablespoons ghee or butter
1 onion; chopped
1 tablespoon ginger; minced
3 garlic cloves; minced
1 cup cooked black lentils
1/2 cup cooked kidney beans
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon tomato paste

Under medium-high heat, heat the ghee until hot then add the cumin and fennel seeds. Stir until they crackle and become fragrant. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, chili powder and tomato paste and saute for 5 minutes. Add the additional ingredients along with any water to get the thickness you prefer. Simmer for 30 minutes. Enjoy.

Sometimes I consider quitting my my job in IT and working at Whole Foods. Why? Because of their tasty hot bar. Ok, I really wouldn’t quit my job, I like my job (usually), but I would like to acquire their recipes. I’ve had some good new experiences there. I had my first exposure to tempeh at Whole Foods and was quite a fan (you can look forward to something with that in the near future). So yes, this is another try-to-copy-whole-foods recipe.

Cauliflower and Spices

Whole Foods has this dish called Cracklin’ Cauliflower which I enjoy. Alliteration aside, I’m not sure why they call it that. It doesn’t strike me as cracklin’ at all, really. But then, what is cracklin’? How do you make something crack? Wait, what were we talking about?

Cauliflower and Peas with Spices

So yes, cracklin’ cauliflower is a subtly spicy dish that I like to get when perusing the hot bar selection. The spices say ‘Indian’ to me. with turmeric, fennel, and perhaps some curry. Another reason I like it is because, unlike many “true” Indian dishes, its ingredient list seems relatively smaller. Like last time, this dish isn’t what you find at your local Whole Foods, but delicious nonetheless.

Cracklin' Cauliflower - Sort Of

Cracklin’ Cauliflower

3 tablespoons oil
1 head of cauliflower; cut into equal size floret (larger pieces, cut in half)
1 yellow onion; diced
1 clove garlic; minced
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon curry (I used half hot, half sweet)
5 tablespoons stock or water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Steam your cauliflower for approximately 7 minutes so that it still retains firmness. After a few minutes, saute your onion on medium high heat in a large frying pan or wok for 5 minutes.

Add all your ingredients; your cauliflower, peas, garlic, spices, stock and salt. Reduce to medium heat. The stock will help drop the temperature as well as make it easy to mix the spices evenly (otherwise it clumps up). Stir-fry until evenly mixed and the stock has boiled away; approximate 5 minutes. The cauliflower should still be firm. Serve and enjoy.