Tandoori Flavored Chicken with Sauteed Indian Eggplants

We recently met a very nice seventy-one year old Indian woman who is a retired doctor from the Northeast. There’s 10 years between us, but I think it will be a very good friendship. We shared a number of odd commonality.  How odd  it is that we both take the same two prescription medicines (I haven’t met anyone else who does). We both have two children. Both our daughters graduated from New York University, about 12 years apart; both our sons graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, also years apart. Upon discovery, we both said the word almost at the same time: Karma. We both love cooking and gardening,  that is,  cooking from the garden. We have already started a plant and food exchange.

After 911, from 5WTC, our office moved to the Flatiron district of Manhattan. It is in the proximity of Lexington Avenue and 26th Street, which is home to various reasonably priced (i.e. cheap) but good Indian eateries which we frequented for lunch. My husband worked in downtown Manhattan where he also frequented cheap but good Indian eateries. Needless to say, we both miss eating cheap but good Indian foods. Today, our newfound  friend inspired me to incorporate Indian spices in this chicken recipe.

  • Half of chicken
  • 1 T tandoori powder which is available in the spice section of most supermarkets
  • 1 tsp paprika, for heat and color
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Massage the dry rub all over  the chicken. Let it marinade for  at least 15 minutes.

While the chicken is being marinated, heat a heavy pan on high. I use a bacon press, a cooking brick will work as well. You can be creative, in the absence of a bacon press or cooking brick, use another pan. Put the bacon press or brick on stove top on high heat for 10 – 15  minutes. It will be very hot so handle carefully. The pan has to be really hot to crisp the chicken skin. When the pan and press are ready, put the chicken on the pan skin side down and put the press or brick on top. It should produce a sizzling sound if both the pan and the press are properly heated. Cook each side for about 10 – 15 minutes. When pricked by a fork in the leg part, clear juice indicates that the chicken is done.

Meanwhile  prepare the eggplant:

  • 1/2  red onion, sliced
  • 8  pieces of Indian eggplants
  • 1 sweet pepper
  • 1 t turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 T oil

In another pan, heat the oil.  Pile the ingredients on the pan in the order they are listed, spread the spices on top. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Stir and check the eggplant if done.

There you go, dinner in no more than 45 minutes. We ate  it with steamed brown and red rice and the spicy Indian lime chutney  from our new friend. The dish marries well with the spicy lemony Thai basil which I happened to have at the time.

By the way, I paid our Indian friend a dime for the chutney, she only asked for a penny, but I didn’t have a penny. She said in India, it is customary to ‘pay’ for a spicy gift so as not to ruin a friendship (with the spice)! As they say, chalo khana khayenge! Let’s eat!


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