Traditionally, dried kashmiri chillies, a mild red chile, originating from India are used in the recipe. But they can be difficult to find. These deeply red, wrinkled chillies are known not only for the stunning vibrant color they impart to spice blends and curries, they are highly regarded for their flavor. I substitute a 2-3 chiles de arbol and add sweet paprika (not smoked) to enhance the color, without adding too much heat.
For the marinade, add a few tablespoons of Tandoori Spice to plain whole milk yogurt, along with salt, olive oil and lemon juice, and you are pretty much done. Sometimes I’ll add fresh garlic and ginger for added punch.
Marinate the tofu or chicken for 30 minutes – or preferably or overnight. I will tell you, the longer you marinate, the better the flavor. So I’ll either marinate overnight or first thing in the morning.
If you don’t feel like starting up your barbecue, a grill pan over your stove top works great. Make sure to grease your grill or grill pan well. Grill each side so all sides are nicely marked, and finish in a warm oven.
Grilled Tandoori Skewers with Cucumber Mint Raita
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast or Extra Firm Tofu, cut into one inch thick pieces (or try half and half)
- 1 C whole milk Greek yogurt
- 1 T olive oil
- 3 T tandoori spice blend ( store bought- or see recipe below)
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/8 C fresh lemon or lime juice
- 4 cloves garlic – minced (optional)
- 2 T fresh ginger- minced (optional)
Cucumber Raita with Cilantro and Mint:
- 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
- 1/4 C chopped fresh mint
- 1/4 C chopped cilantro
- 1/8 C chopped onion ( optional)
- squeeze lemon
- drizzle olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
In a bowl or blender, mix all marinade ingredients together. Pour over chicken ( or tofu) in a medium sized bowl and let marinate for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours in the fridge. The longer, the better.
Soak skewers in water to prevent burning.
Pre-heat grill to med high heat. Make sure grate is well greased.
Make Raita. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Skewer Chicken or Tofu ( making sure to use thicker wood skewers, that have been pre soaked to prevent burning).
On med-high heat, on a well greased grate, sear chicken/ tofu. Once chicken/ tofu have a nice deep grill marks, it shouldn’t stick… so be sure let it sear for a few minutes without messing with it. Check one first for grill marks, and then when you see them, turn 45 degrees. Once all sides have good color, turn the grill down, move to a cooler part of grill, or the upper rack, and cover – or alternatively, finish cooking in a 350 F oven until meat is cooked through. Serve with Raita.
Tandoori Spice Recipe (Makes about 3/4 Cup)
- 4-6 Mild dry chilies ( If you can find Kashmiri Chilies, use them ) –Or substitute 2 Chiles de Arbol -which are hotter, so you’ll need less.
- 3 T whole coriander seeds
- 2 tsp whole cumin seeds
- 1 tsp peppercorns
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 6 cardamon pods ( whole) 5 whole cloves
- 1 tsp whole fenugreek seeds
- 2 tsp granulated garlic
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 T paprika
Tandoori Spice Recipe Instructions:
Stir the first 8 ingredients in a heavy bottomed skillet, over med-high heat, for 1 – 2 minutes, stirring constantly until the spices start to brown and smell delicious. Transfer to a powerful blender, or coffee grinder, and blend well. And add the remaining ground spices. Blend again until smooth. Transfer to a airtight spice jar.
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