Saturday, August 6, 2011

Grilled Chicken with Indian spices

A friend in my neighborhood always wonders why grilling or barbecueing is not a winter time activity. The heat from the grill would provide the warmth to hang outdoors in the chilly air. Well it does not work that way around here mostly.

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Grilling is a predominantly summer time activity starting around Memorial day(late May) and lasting until Labor Day (early September). Fire up the grill and run indoors to the cool sanctuary of the AC is how it works mostly. Nobody is going to stop you if you grill in the winter so don't get me wrong but most people don't attempt when the temperature is a few degrees cooler outside.

place a few strategic cuts

Leaving aside the season for grilling I was felled by another doubt, if what we do in our backyard is grilling or barbecueing. A little research (googling) later I learnt of the difference. I was wrong on two counts.
1. When I say "we barbecued in the backyard over the weekend" I am describing the act (like xeroxing equates to photo copying) not the process itself.
2. Barbecue has only slight connection to the barbecue sauce.

So what exactly is the difference?
Barbecue is cooking meat in the smoke/heat created by burning wood chips or charcoal or in other words indirect slow heat. Grilling is cooking the meat in direct heat.

let it all marinate in a zip lock bag

What did we do in the backyard? We grilled and that is pretty much what we do mostly.

Marinate the chicken in the secret marinade that I am going to reveal today and you are guaranteed a juicy, spicy and tasty grilled chicken. 2-3 hours of marination is a required minimum and 8 hours is perfect. I have never tried marinating over night for the simple reason I am not used to planning that far ahead.

Alternatively the chicken can be baked in the oven for more or less the same results. Reserve that for a cold winter's night.

The chicken is crispy on the outside and moist and juicy on the inside. The secret is the yogurt it marinates in. We grilled the chicken perhaps for a couple of minutes longer. If flipped at the right time the color should be golden brown without any black on the outside.

serve with some cut onions and wedges of lime

Spicy Grilled Chicken
1. 10-15 chickenmedium sized chicken thighs
2. 4 cloves of garlic minced fine
3. 1 tbsp grated ginger
4. 2 tbsp of yogurt
5. 2 tsp turmeric powder
6. 1 tbsp chili powder
7. 2 tsp salt
8. 1 tsp cumin powder
9. 2 tsp of low sodium soy sauce (see note)
10. 1 gallon sized zip lock bag
11. lemon wedges

1. Wash and clean the drumsticks (preferably with turmeric powder) and make a few slashes with the knife on either side and pat dry with a paper towel
2. Put the drumsticks in a zip lock bag and add the turmeric powder, chili powder, salt and cumin powder followed by the minced garlic, ginger and soy sauce
3. Whisk the yogurt to smooth and add to the chicken in the bag
4. Now zip the bag and flip it up and down to mix the chicken with the spices such that they are evenly coated
5. Set in the fridge for 3-8 hours

6. Fire up the grill - lightly rub oil on the grill and place the chicken and let it cook on one side, flip and cook on the other side (15 minutes on side and another 15 on the other). The outer skin should be nice and golden. Check for doneness. See Note.

7. Serve hot with lemon wedges.

1. Soy sauce softens the meat. Add just a bit so as to not overwhelm
2. To check for doneness, part the chicken thigh with a knife to check if there is any red liquid which is a sign that the chicken is not completely cooked. The meat should be white.
3.We grilled the chicken perhaps for a couple of minutes longer. If flipped at the right time the color should be golden brown without any black on the outside.
4. If baking in oven bake in a preheated 375F oven for 30-40 minutes. Broil for 2 minutes for crispy outside.


  1. Can I try this in oven ,..? Thnks for the recpe

  2. The marinade is definitely the key - thanks for sharing, this should make it delicious and soft.

  3. Love the description....will have to try this in a grill family wud love..Already bookmarked ur recipe..

  4. They lok morishly delicious. Though I have to say I am not a leg.thigh person. if I do this i will do with breast and wings at home :-)

  5. notyet100, absolutely can be tried in the oven. Bake at 375F for 30-40minutes and do the doneness test.


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