Thursday, 21 January 2016

Chicken Tikka with Lentil Dal

Indian food is one of the most popular in our household, and when trying to abstain from naughty foods it's probably one of the things we miss the most (washed down with a Kingfisher or two).

This chicken tikka dish is an incredibly satisfying one accompanied by the lentil dal (curried lentils), and when I had the craving for this I only had red split lentils and these worked just fine although are a slight departure from the traditional recipes.

If possible marinate the chicken overnight as you will get the best flavour this way - but if you haven't the time, then a couple of hours in the marinade should do.

Chicken Tikka with Lentil Dal

The below serves 2.

Here's how:
For the chicken tikka:
  • 2 large chicken legs, skin on 
  • 100g 0% Fat natural yoghurt (I use Yeo Valley
  • 100g fresh ginger 
  • 1 tsp ground cumin 
  • 1 tsp ground coriander 
  • 1 tsp turmeric 
  • 1/2 tsp paprika 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp white pepper 
  • 1 tsp garam masala 
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper or chilli powder 
  • 1 large lime 
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed or vegetable oil 
For the lentil dal:
  • 150g lentils 
  • 1 tbsp vegetable or rapeseed oil 
  • tbsp cumin seeds 
  • 1 onion 
  • 60g fresh ginger 
  • 2 garlic cloves 
  • 1 tbsp tinned chopped tomatoes or 3 cherry tomatoes 
  • 2-3 green chillies 
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric 
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala 
  • 1 tsp ground coriander 
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • Pinch of black pepper 
  • Handful of fresh coriander leaves and an additional green chilli for garnish 

Firstly create the marinade for the chicken by combining all of the other ingredients in a blender or a bowl with a whisk. Grate in the ginger and blitz or whisk till combined. Place the chicken into the bowl and completely cover with the yoghurt marinade which will flavour and tenderise the meat overnight. Cover well and place into the fridge for 24 hours, or however long you have.

The following day, pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C, and remove the chicken from the fridge to come down to room temperature. Once the oven is ready, place the chicken onto a tray and into the oven to cook for 30-35 minutes until cooked through, then remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

In the meantime you can make the dal by firstly rinsing the lentils, then covering with lightly salted water and bringing to the boil. Now skim off any frothy water that might form on top of the water and get rid and then reduce the heat and cook gently for 30 minutes with a lid on.

Now heat the oil gently in a pan and in the meantime finely dice the onion, green chillis, garlic and ginger and add to the pan with the oil to gently cook down. Add the tomatoes and the ground spices and the room will soon take on a deliciously aromatic aroma. Pour over 100ml of water now and this will form the basis of your sauce or coating for the dal.

By now the lentils should be cooked through and will have absorbed most of the water - if not drain off any excess. The lentils should be soft and tender by now. Use a wooden spoon to stir well and slightly smoosh down as you want a combination of smooth textures to your dal.

Now add the lentils to the sauce pot and allow to cook for ten minutes. Before serving stir through half of the coriander and use the remaining half as a garnish with some fresh green chilli.

Portion up onto a bowl or plate and place the chicken tikka on top. Enjoy!

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