This is one of the most popular dishes on my menu. I have a restaurant in Mumbai, so visit India often, and here you can see how I've been influenced by one of my favorite Indian dishes tandoori chicken. The bird is first marinated in spiced yogurt before being roasted in a very hot oven. For garnish, I make a zesty sauce from the marinade and serve the pieces of chicken with whole grilled fresh chiles. The secret ingredient here is the hot sauce. I always use Frank's, a Louisiana-based sauce with a distinct red pepper flavor, which is neither as hot nor as sharp as other brands. As a result, the marinated chicken is certainly spicy, but not incendiary. If you want more heat, I encourage you to eat the chiles. The noodle topping is dramatic, and you'll always see it at the restaurant, but at home you can consider it optional.
Makes 4 servings
• 2 chickens, 3½ to 4 pounds (2 kg) each, quartered
• Spicy Yogurt Marinade (recipe below)
• 2 cups Chicken Stock
• 24 assorted long fresh hot green and red chile peppers
• 2 tablespoons grape seed oil or other vegetable oil
• Fried Rice Noodles
• Lime wedges, for serving
1. a) Make Yogurt Marinade (recipe below).
b) Trim any excess fat from the chicken. Rinse and pat dry. Place the chicken quarters in a large bowl. Measure out 1 cup of the Spicy Yogurt Marinade and reserve for the sauce, refrigerate in a small covered container.
2. Pour the rest of the marinade over the chicken. Turn the pieces to make sure they are all well coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 and up to 24 hours
3. About 1 hour before you plan to serve the chicken, preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Remove the chicken from the marinade and arrange the pieces on 1 or 2 half-sheet pans or large baking sheets. Discard the chicken marinade.
4. Roast for 40 minutes, until the chicken is tender and lightly browned and the juices run clear when the thighs are pricked with the tip of a small knife. Transfer the pieces to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm.
5. While the chicken is roasting make the sauce. Boil the chicken stock in a medium saucepan over high heat until it is reduced to 1 cup. Whisk in the reserved 1 cup Spicy Yogurt Marinade and cook just until heated through do not boil, or the yogurt will separate. Keep the sauce warm.
6. As soon as the chickens are done, preheat the broiler. Toss the chiles with the oil to coat lightly and spread them out on a broiler rack or small baking sheet. Broil the chiles about 4 inches from the heat, turning them a couple of times, until they are blistered and lightly browned about 5 minutes.
7. To serve, layer the chicken and chiles on a large platter. Pour the sauce around the chicken. Top with the Fried Rice Noodles (recipe below). Serve with lime wedges to squeeze over the chicken.
SPICY YOGURT MARINADE
Makes about 3½ cups
• 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
• 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
• 1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds
• 1 teaspoon chile powder
• 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1½ cups not sauce, preferably Frank's
• 1½ cups plain yogurt
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 1/3 cup soy sauce
Spicy Yogurt Marinade
To make the marinade, grind the peppercorns cumin, coriander seeds, and cardamom in a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the Chile powder garam masala, and salt. Add the hot sauce, yogurt cream, and soy sauce and whisk until smooth and well blended.
Fried Rice Noodles
Add vegetable oil to reach about 2 inches (5 cm) up the sides of a large saucepan or a wok. Heat the oil over high heat to 340°F (170°C). Separate 1 bundle of thin rice noodles (mai fun) into 2 portions. Working with one portion at a time, add the noodles to the oil. They will puff up almost immediately. Using a large wire skimmer transfer to paper towels to drain.