Today is the day to celebrate In the Palace of Shadow and Joy!
And to help you welcome Dave Butler’s new book into the world, here’s a recipe for a lovely, spicy, all-in-one pot dish you can savor while you are reading the story of a man who kept history alive in his head. And his rogue partner who may or may not be trying to sell… everything. And anything. Have you fastened that down? No? Are you sure it’s still there?
Hold onto your spices, and let’s get started with DJ Butler’s Chicken Tandoori.
Dave is a fantastic author, and a perfect gentleman with a penchant for strange hats, so I found it very easy to approach him and ask if he’d like to appear in this column. He said yes, which I was expecting, and suggested Chicken Tandoori, which I was not. The man has a sandwich ministry! (It’s awesome. Such a great charitable idea). However, once I saw the blurb for In The Palace of Shadow and Joy, all became clear.
Besides which, he didn’t exactly have to twist my arm to get me cooking Indian food. I love the spicy, rich, unctuous stuff.
Tandoori chicken is a great example of that. I made my version both low-carb and in the instant pot, because life.
However, you can do this in the oven, in a heavy dutch oven, and it might be even better. I’ll try that myself, next.
3 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tbsp ginger (fresh grated if possible)
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp garlic, minced finely
1/2 tsp cumin (black if you can find it)
1/2 tsp ground cardamon
1/4 tsp cloves (ground)
2 tsp salt
2-3 lbs chicken thighs (or leg quarters, or drumsticks)
1 sour cream or greek yogurt (plain!)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
Mix together all the spices, lemon juice, oil and yogurt.
Coat chicken in marinade. I did this by putting the chicken in the marinade, and then all of it in a large ziploc bag. I had 6 largish chicken thighs, so it filled a gallon ziploc fairly well.
Allow to marinate for 4-24 hours, in the refrigerator. You can actually freeze this in the bag, and cook it later. I just let it go overnight for optimal flavor (refrigerated! chicken doesn’t sit out well!)
Place marinated chicken with marinade in the InstantPot or dutch oven. If cooking in the oven you will want to preheat to 350F. In the electric pressure cooker, set it for 20 minutes at high pressure, and walk away. When the pressure cooking ends, allow it to naturally release the pressure. In the oven, bake for 40-50 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the fleshy part of a chicken thigh registers no less than 170F. Or until the meat begins to fall off the bones.
In the oven, there will be moisture loss and you will not need to worry about cooking down the sauce – simply pull it out and serve over rice or cauliflower. However, the moisture is all trapped in the pressure cooker, so you will need to remove the lid and turn the pot to saute for 10-15 minutes until the sauce is thickened. You can either remove the chicken, or leave it in during this process.
It’s not a simple dish. It is an easy dish, if you are busy and have the handy-dandy countertop pressure cooker to do the work for you. I can set my pot for a delay and have it start before I even get home… The complex spices in this make it smell wonderful while it is cooking! I’ll note that if you have garam masala (I didn’t) you can leave out the cumin, cardamom, cloves, and black pepper and add 2-3 tsps of garam masala instead.
Even the First Reader, who does not care for the spices in many Indian dishes, really enjoyed this one. He remarked that for once, chicken had flavor!
Just like DJ Butler’s writing…
And if you liked this recipe and book, there are many more at Eat This While You Read That. If you read (and cooked!) only once a week, you’d be at it for a couple of years.