Cucumber Raita & Tandoori Chicken

December 9, 2010

My friend Elena was not going to celebrate here Birthday, so I cooked her a nice birthday dinner. The meal had a Northern Indian theme, but I had to keep the spices mild because there were 4 kids eating as well. The main course was Tandoori Chicken with Cilantro-Mint Chutney (which I had made before in May) with a side dish of Cucumber Raita. The Raita is a new recipe that Chris Kimball uses to season his chicken, but more traditionally it is served as a side dish to cool down the palate when eating spicy Indian dishes.

Cucumber Raita. Opps, I was supposed to grate the cucumber.

The Raita  recipe is here. Simply combine 1 cup plain yogurt, 2 tablespoons minced cilantro, 1 pressed garlic clove, 1/4 teaspoon table salt and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper in small bowl, stir to combine and chill. This recipe is perfect for 2 cucumbers, however I sliced my cucumber. The next day an Indian co-worker told me that I should have grated the cucumber. In any case, it was simple and refreshing. 4-stars for the Raita.

Rating: 4-stars.
Cost: $1.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Low.
Start time 4:00pm. Dinner time 4:15 PM.

I have made the Tandoori Chicken before, and it came out just as good today. When I first made the recipe in May I bloomed my spices in regular pan, but lost at least 25% of the spices due to sticking. Today I used a non-stick pan, which worked better.

Wonderful flavors, but patience is required.

The Tandoori Chicken recipe is here. I heated 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a small non-stick pan. Then sauteed the 6 cloves of minced garlic and 3/4-ounce of grated ginger for 30 seconds, then bloomed the spices in the same pan. I divided the mixture into two parts. First part was for a salt rub, in which the chicken sat for 30 minutes. Second part was mixed with yogurt and lime juice, which was used for the coating applied just before baking.  The chicken was supposed to be baked for 30 minutes at 325-degrees, then broiled for 15 minutes. Mine took longer to reach the correct internal temperatures.

The Cilantro-Mint Chutney was prepared in the food processor. The recipe uses an entire bunch of Cilantro, 1 cup of fresh mint, 1/4-cup minced onion, 1/3-cup plain yogurt, some cumin, salt, sugar and lime juice. Let run in food processor for 30 seconds. I made this two hours ahead of time.


  1. For some reason my chicken was cooking slowly. It took 45 minutes
  2. When checking out at my Supermarket, the 18-year-old kid mistook my $3 bunch of mint for 79-cent cilantro.  That kept the cost of my double batch down to $8.

Rating: 5 stars.
Cost: $8 for 6-pounds of chicken. $2.85 for chutney.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time 3:00pm. Dinner time 6:15 PM.


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