Thursday, December 9, 2010

#37 Whole Roast Chicken with an Indian Flair

It has been estimated that 88% of Americans eat turkey at Thanksgiving, so this time our family will fall within the bracket of the remaining 12% who did not eat Turkey. I was intrigued by all the recipes
for roast chicken that I read last month in a vain attempt to pick one recipe that I preferred over another.  Now I am back to sqaure one, still looking for something moist, juicy, simple and innovative made
in my kitchen. I am willing to experiment with spices so the results produced the most succulent roast chicken, infused with simple spices and equally ecstatic flavors.  Simple is always the best way to go---in life and friendship.  There is a tip or two that I have read about roasting a bird-- the breast meat cooks more quickly than the legs so either you have a moist breast and undercooked thighs and legs or if the legs are cooked the breast is dry or overcooked. One way to get a balance is to roast the chicken over onions so that the moisture in the breast is maintained while the legs cook. I keep the bird covered for some time and then roast uncovered with breast down over the onions. The vegetables roasted in the pan juices soak up extra flavor when they are served up with these heavenly soft onions. I prefer to savor the onions as a side dish to the chicken.
V just shared some interesting news with me and I want to share it with you---- a casual fast food Indian restaurant just opened up in Washington DC. I was curious to read about it and here's the write up in the Washington Post:
"Merzi, a fast-casual Indian restaurant, officially opened at 415 7th Street NW in Penn Quarter.  Self-defined by founder/owner Qaiser (Kaz) Kazmi as the "Chipotle of Indian food," the restaurant serves a
customizable plate of Indian food that will easily appeal to even the novice Indian food eater.Much like Chipotle, you work your way down an assembly line that starts with a choice of rice, naan bread,
chaat (a combination of chickpeas, tomato, cucumber, onions, peppers, and corn with spices) or salad. Then pick between chickpeas, black-eyed peas or onion-tomato-cucumber mix. For your heartier
topping, you have a choice of beef, shrimp, lamb, chicken, chicken Tandisserie (a tandoori-style rotisserie chicken) or a combination of vegetables. Finally, you can select a mix of warm and cold sauces: hot tomato masala, medium tikka masala and mild makhani. The cold chutneys include a quite incendiary hot chutney with red chilies, a creamy medium chutney with green chilies, and a sweet and tangy mild tamarind chutney." 
Isn't it interesting how new Indian fusion food is growing in the Nations Capital?  I love the sound of the "Tandisserie" !! Very interesting, and I will be testing out the goods very soon---thanks sweety for
letting me know about this place!!

Whole Chicken- 2 lbs
Onion-3 whole cubed
Onion- 1 chopped
Meat Masala- 2 tspns
Haldi Powder-1/2 tspn
Chilli Powder- 1 Tblspn
Coriander Powder-1 1/2 Tblspn
Saunf/Fennel/Perumjeerakam  powder- 1 Tblspn
Ginger- 1" piece
Garlic- 5 cloves
Mint Leaves from 3-6 sprigs
Cilantro-1/4 bunch
Salt and Pepper to taste
Butter- 1 stick
Lemon Juice- juice 1
1. Remove giblets and neck from inside the chicken. Clean the dirt from the inside cavity of the chicken. Wash well until water runs clear, and let drain.
2. When handling chicken in the kitchen be careful to sanitize to prevent the juices from contaminating fruit or vegetables. Use a seperate cutting board and knives for meats.
3. Pat the chicken dry with Paper towels.
4. In a blender mix together 1 chopped onion, Meat Masala, chilli, coriander, haldi powders, 1/2 the ginger and garlic, salt and process well. Mix with 1/2 the butter and keep aside.
5. In the same blender coarsely process the Cilantro, mint leaves, rest of the garlic, ginger and lemon juice add some salt and pepper and keep aside.
6. Take the chicken with the skin on, place your finger in between the flesh and skin to make pockets all over gently without breaking the skin.
Now take the spice mix from step #4 and rub this in between the skin and flesh all over evenly and around the legs and breast, wings and sides of chicken.
7. Take the spice mix from step #5 and rub it well inside the cavity of the chicken. Place halved lemon and garlic pod inside the cavity.
8. Heat Oven to 425 degrees. Fold the wing tips under the body & tie the legs together with a string at the end of the drumsticks after placing the halved lemon and garlic pod inside the stomach.
9. Place the cubed onions in the base of the roasting pan and then place the chicken breast side up. brush with remaining butter. Cover with Alumnum Foil.
10. Roast in Oven at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, now remove the foil and baste the liquid all over the chicken. Then turn over so that the breast is on top of the onion layer.
11. Roast without the foil for another 10 minutes basting with the pan juices. Once evenly brown, remove from oven and remove the onions. and let stand for 15 minutes covered with Foil before carving to
keep the juices in.
12. Roast Sweet potatoes, grape tomatoes in the pan juices and toss with the cubed onions from the chicken and serve the mixed vegetables with the chicken.

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