Food: a fresh+classic chicken tikka recipe with raita dip

You will find numerous different recipes for this one dish. But the recipe I will share with you today is the simplest of all with minimal ingredients. It may be simple but it is definitely flavorful and fresh. The raita dip which is a yogurt dip compliments the spicy moist chicken beautifully. I have baked the chicken and I will share the technique that keeps the chicken moist inside with a crispy skin (although these are skinless chicken leg quarters). Grilling would give you the added smoky flavor which will taste even better. 





I have used:
4 medium skinless chicken leg quarters :: juice of 1 green lemon; 1 cup greek yogurt 
food color :: 1 1/2 tsp red chili powder :: 1 tsp cumin powder :: 1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp Trader Joe's 21 Spices :: salt+fresh pepper+oil+pinch of sugar

Wash the chicken first and then drain the water properly. If needed wipe excess water away with a paper towel. Dry chicken pieces will absorb flavor better and will color beautifully. Make diagonal cuts on the meaty parts of the chicken leg quarters. This will ensure the spice mixture goes deep into the meat. Mix the yogurt and the lemon juice with the dry spices and the food color. Don't add any of these "salt+fresh pepper+oil+pinch of sugar" yet. If you don't have the 21 spices, then add any mix of different spices that you have such as herbs de provence, allspice, etc. You can make your own spice mix. Coat the chicken in this marinade and cover and keep in the fridge. Make sure you used a large green lemon - the lemon juice is a key player in this marinade. I suggest marinating overnight. But it is up to you. 2 hours should be the minimum marinade time. I also suggest bringing the chicken to room temperature before you grill or bake it. Right before baking it, add these "salt+fresh pepper+oil+pinch of sugar" to the chicken. Sprinkle additional fresh pepper and oil on top of the pieces. The reason I don't put salt in the marinade is because it lets all the water out of the chicken. Now for oven temperature - this is what I do. I set it to 500 degrees. Bake the chicken in this heat for 35 minutes. In the case of these 4 chicken leg quarters they were done in this time. If you like a little more char, then bake another additional 15 mins at 450 degrees. This will give you perfect crispy chicken tikkas with a moist inside that is fully cooked. Keep your eyes on the chicken - don't let it burn. It will sizzle and smoke in this heat but trust me it will be absolutely delish! 

For the yoghurt raita dip take 1/2 cup of yoghurt and mix in salt+sugar+red chili powder+lemon juice+tamarind sauce and beat until light and creamy. Bon app├ętit! 


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