If you’re craving a spicy hearty Indian chicken recipe that is somewhat easy…this dish is for you!
Making a paste marinade allows the spices and fresh ingredients to seep into the chicken, tenderizing it and insuring it will be succulent. Roughly chop the red onion (you can substitute with white onion), ginger, bird’s eye chilies, and crush the garlic. It makes it easier for the food processor or handheld emulsifier to grind through. I leave the curry leaves whole before I grind them, since the leaves are not fibrous. Curry leaves give the dish a distinct earthy floral flavor, mainly used in South Indian dishes. Most grocery stores carry it, but if you are out of luck, substitute with cilantro.
Before you soak the California chilies, make sure to deseed them and cut them in small pieces so it will soak faster. If you can’t find dried California chilies, you can substitute with dried guajillo chilies. Guajillo chilies seem to be more readily available in the Mexican section of the grocery store. Both will give a roasted smoky chili flavor without the heat, and make the final dish a gorgeous dark red color.
The spices I add give the dish complexity without being overpowering. I added my own recipe of garam masala powder, which contains more floral nutty flavors. Turmeric powder gives depth of flavor with its distinct earthy note. The cumin and coriander powder delivers a roasted flavor. The bird’s eye chilies and chili powder lend spiciness; if you are sensitive to heat you can pick one source. The only ingredient that might be hard to get your hands on is asafeotida, unless you have an Indian grocery store nearby. It’s also called hing and sold as a white powder or brown cube which you have to grind or dissolve. Pick the white powder since it’s easier to work with. It has a sour earthy flavor. A splash of one teaspoon of white vinegar mixed in the chicken just before baking is a great alternative.
I highly recommend marinating the chicken overnight for maximum flavor. But if you’re in a hurry, 4-5 hours should be fine. To allow the marinade to seep in, gash the chicken pieces with a paring knife, maybe a quarter of an inch deep. When applying the marinade, make sure you get some in the gashes. The best way to do this is to massage it in with your clean hands. I seal my marinated chicken in a Ziploc bag, so I could just move it around from time to time for even marinating. I just toss out the bag when finished.
To complement the chicken I add colorful peppers and red onions. Feel free to use what’s available to you. The red, yellow, and orange bell peppers are naturally sweet. They require little cooking because they are watery and less fibrous. I add the mixture of bell peppers and onions towards the end of cooking to achieve a light char and complement the roasted chicken. Another great accompaniment is the basil vinaigrette. It brightens the final dish with the clementine juice and citrus grassy note of basil. The half garlic clove is not pungent enough to detect the sharp bite but gives a slight garlic flavor.
I serve the roasted chicken with roasted potatoes, naan or steamed vegetables. Hope you enjoy! Let me know how this recipes turns out for you, would love your feedback.
- 1 chicken skin and cut in 4 portions (3-4lbs)
- 3 tbsp. garlic roughly chopped
- 1 ½ tbsp. ginger chopped
- I cup red onion chopped
- ½ cup of curry leaves
- 2-3 fresh bird’s eye chilies minced
- 3 dried California chili deseeded and soaked
- ½ cup of sliced red, orange and yellow bell pepper
- ½ cup sliced red onion
- 1 tbsp. garam masala powder
- 1 tbsp. coriander powder
- ½ tbsp. cumin powder
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- ½ tsp. turmeric powder
- ½ tsp. asafoetida
- Basil vinaigrette Recipe
- ½ cup chopped basil
- ½ clove of garlic minced
- 2 tbsp. of clementine juice
- ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- In a small food processor or with a handheld emulsifier purée the chopped onion, garlic, ginger, curry leaves, bird’s eye chilies, soaked California chilies to a paste.
- Mix in the garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder, chili powder, turmeric powder and asafoetida to the paste.
- Cut a few slits on the chicken pieces to allow the marinade to penetrate.
- Apply the marinade liberally to each chicken piece. Allow the chicken to marinade for 4 hours or overnight.
- Once ready to bake the chicken, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Place the chicken pieces on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. I lined mine with aluminum foil for easy clean up.
- Bake for 30 minutes on 375 degrees.
- Season the sliced bell peppers and red onion with salt n black pepper and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil to prevent burning.
- After 30 minutes remove the chicken and evenly distribute the peppers and onions.
- Crank the oven to 415 degrees. Place the tray back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes.
- Once done allow the chicken, onion and peppers to cool before plating.
- Basil Vinaigrette Instructions
- In food processor or with a handheld emulsifier puree the chopped basil, half clove of garlic, clementine juice, and extra virgin to desired consistency.
- Season with salt and black pepper.
- Drizzle over chicken and enjoy.