Summers are time for grilled food and salads but we Indians remain loyal to our curries and other indigenous foods and traditional methods of preparations. This means, that we end up spending perhaps more time in the kitchen, than our western world counterparts. We do have our tandoori version of grilled food but it is something people usually have when they are eating out at the restaurants.
It has been a long and harsh summers here in most parts of the country. The sun has been relentless and the El Nino effect has taken its toll on the monsoon in India. In my city the monsoon arrived after weeks of delay. It was hell working in the kitchen in the repressive heat and humidity. To avoid working in kitchen during the day, I used to prepare meals in the morning and store it in the refrigerator for the evenings. On days when stirring a pot of simmering curry is the last thing on my mind, I try to serve meals that are quick to dish up yet uncompromising on taste. And honestly, with the fraught appetites, my family prefers these chicken drumsticks with a salad to having curries.
Grilled food not just tastes good but is also sooooo easy to dish up. All it needs is a good marinade and marinating time. Rest of the job is done by the oven or grill. These drumsticks are an absolute winner. The marinade of yogurt keeps the chicken soft and moist on the inside. And those spices are oh so good. After I first made them around two years back, my family has lost the taste for the ones served at the restaurants. A cool yogurt dip accompanied by a chutney, a simple salad or pickled onions, flatbreads or rice (or couscous may be) and you are good to go.
You will need the following spices and ingredients,
7 chicken drumsticks (Mine were medium sized & without skin)
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp Ras el Hanout
Sprinkle of Salt
½ tsp Mint Powder
¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
1 cup unflavoured Yogurt (not Greek yogurt)
1 tsp Ginger paste
1 tsp Garlic paste
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
¾ tsp Salt (or to taste)
½ tsp Chili powder
Pat dry the drumsticks and transfer them in the container in which you are going to marinate them (do not use a reactive container) and make one or two slits on both the plump sides of the drumsticks. Drizzle over the lemon juice all over the chicken pieces and mix them well. Cover and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix together the ingredients of the second marinade. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator and using your hands, rub them well over the chicken, like massaging. Ensure that you rub inside the incisions as well.
Next, gently whisk the yogurt and add the rest of the ingredients of the third marinade & mix well. Pour this mix over the chicken and gently roll the chicken pieces into this marinade holding the chicken from the bony side so that you do not rub off the dry marinade. (Do NOT rub the yogurt over the pieces.)
Keep the chicken drumsticks laid in a single layer to marinate. It would be wonderful if you can let it marinate for 24 hours but if you are falling short of time, let it marinate for at least 8 hours or overnight. Keep it covered in the refrigerator.
Remove the chicken from refrigerator an hour before you intend to grill it. Preheat the oven at 210 C and set the mode to heating both the elements of the oven (top and bottom). Fit the rack over the baking sheet/drip tray (ensure you cover the baking sheet with foil to catch all the drips so that cleaning is easy.) Set the rack in centre of oven.
Once the rack is hot, carefully remove it from the oven. Remove an excess marinade from the drumsticks and place them on the rack. Spray them or gently brush them with some oil. Place the rack back in the oven over the baking sheet and let the chicken grill at 210 for the first 12-15 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces using tongs and reduce the temperature to 190 and grill further till the chicken is done, approximately 15 minutes. (You may cook further if you want some chars on the chicken.)
Carefully remove from the oven, rest them for a white and serve.
Note: The grilling time will depend on how plump the chicken drumsticks are.
Serves: 2 – 3
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