Oct 11, 2012

IHCC: Spice Bazaar

I Heart Cooking Clubs is now cooking the recipes of Madhur Jaffrey.  This week's theme, "Spice Bazaar" couldn't be more fitting for my trip into Indian cuisine.

My trip was a bizarre one.  No turmeric--which appears in many of Jaffrey's dishes.  No garam masala.  No cardamom.  Couldn't even find whole cinnamon sticks in my little town!  Bizarre for sure.

A Sunday drive and a stroll around World Market later, and I'm set with what I need (except for turmeric--they were out) for this week's celebration of spices as well as several other recipes I have in the wings.
Or in this case, leg quarters.

For the Spice Bazaar theme, I chose a recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's Quick and Easy Indian Cooking that not only had plenty of spices, but was said to be spicy itself.

Spicy Grilled Chicken

The chicken is first coated in a paste made with a variety of spices: salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, cumin, oregano, and garam masala (a spice I have never used before).  Crushed garlic, yogurt, and oil are also added to form the paste.  I decided to let the chicken sit in the fridge overnight wearing this aromatic and tasty paste.  The spice paste won me over right away.

I may as well tell you that the aroma was so intriguing, I couldn't help but dip in a finger.  Before anything touched the chicken, of course.

We all liked the chicken, although I think it could have used a little more cayenne.  I tend to have a problem with bone-in, skin-on chicken burning on the outside before the inside is cooked on the grill, so I baked the chicken for about 15-20 minutes, then finished on the grill.

Jaffrey suggests serving this Yogurt w/ Tomato and Cucumber (Raita) with spicy dishes.

I'm not going to argue one bit.  I think the raita was my favorite part of the meal.  Strange since I don't jump up and down over cucumbers.  Because that would be messy.

Not only does Jaffrey suggest serving this alongside spicy dishes, she also claims it can be eaten solo.  Now that was odd to me--eating a bowl-full of yogurt studded with cucumber and tomato.  When I eat bowls of yogurt, it's always sweet.  However, after taste-testing the raita (gotta get the seasonings right...right?), I could have eaten all of it as is.

More Madhur Jaffrey dishes can be found@ I Heart Cooking Clubs.  Who knows?  Maybe you'll join us?

Also linking with

Food on Friday: BBQ @ Carole's Chatter

Spicy Grilled Chicken 
from Madhur Jaffrey's Quick and Easy Indian Cooking

For the spice paste:
1 tbsp coarsely crushed black peppercorns
1 tbsp paprika (bright red if possible)
1/2  tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 tbsp store bought garam masala
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 1/4  tsp salt
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp plain yogurt

2 3/4  lbs jointed chicken pieces

Preheat the grill and arrange grilling rack at least 5-6 inches from the heat source.  Set the heat at medium-high.

Combine all the ingredients for the spice paste in bowl and mix well. Rub the paste over chicken as evenly as possible. Arrange the chicken pieces on the grill in a single layer with fleshier parts up and skin down.  Grill for 10-12 minutes or until browned. You may need to rearrange some of the pieces so that brown evenly.  Turn the pieces over and cook the second side the same way.

Notes: I used the specified amount of cayenne (1/2 tsp) and thought that more could be used.  Started the chicken baking in the oven at 350 for about 15-20 minutes.  Finished on the grill.  Served with Yogurt with Tomato & Cucumber (below).

Yogurt with Tomato and Cucumber
from Madhur Jaffrey's Quick and Easy Indian Cooking

2 cups plain yogurt
1/2-3/4 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground, roasted cumin seeds
1 small tomato, cut in a small dice
about a 4"piece of cucumber, peeled and cut in a small dice

Put the yogurt into a bowl. Beat lightly with a fork until smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Notes: Half of a recipe was more than enough for 3 leg quarters.  Used ground cumin instead of roasting and grinding cumin seeds.


  1. I have the quick and easy Indian cookbook and this recipe is on my radar, even more so now. I just love the way your chicken looks so coated in spices...delicious! I have to admit that I was a little worried about the spices, etc. when MJ was chosen, but I'm absolutely loving the two recipes I've tried so far.

    I have a confession...I do not like turmeric so I left it out of the recipe for the chicken bits. It only calls for 1/4 teaspoon so I don't think you'll miss it.

  2. I am your new follower.
    Great Chicken! you got the perfect brown color!
    Raita is my favorite part of meal. In North Indian meals, it is an essential part of the meal.


  3. That chicken looks yummy!! Love Indian foods but never cook them at home, will have to try this.

  4. That looks amazing! I love Indian food and no matter how many times I try to make it and no matter what recipe I follow exactly, I CAN NOT MAKE IT. It's one of those "just have to go out to the restaurant and stuff myself with naan while I'm at it" cuisnes.

  5. Anonymous10/12/2012

    Oh, you must live in my little town. I always have trouble finding the 'exotic' spices. This looks delicious.

  6. I don't have any of her books, I really need at at least one, don't you think?

  7. Your chicken is beautifully coated with the spices, looks so yummy! I don't mind getting my hands dirty for these! I can relate about your difficulty looking for spices, I had that problem looking for ingredients when we were cooking from Rick Baylesss's recipes!

  8. Michelle, your chicken looks absolutely amazing - I totally have to try this one. Love the look of that thick spice paste on the chicken skin. I love raita too, though I've never tried putting tomato in it before - must give that a go. I'm loving cooking with Madhur Jaffrey. We have many Indian migrants here in New Zealand, so virtually all of the ingredients are very readily available here now, even in small towns.

  9. Beautiful! I don't think MJ's dishes are super hot - probably toned down for a North American audience - so always feel free to up the heat!
    I do a half bake on my chicken too, always turns out so much juicier that way.


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