I found my long lost copy of Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cookbook. I love that book. It's well worn, spice infused, turmeric and cayenne stained pages taught me the joys of taking the time to cook Indian cuisine. The love of her recipes, the colours and smells and flavours have endured. My patience for detailed steps, however, got vaporized somewhere during the raising of family, career building, dog-parks and mom-to-horse-barn-taxi service. I'm a follow the recipe (mostly) once, then adapt type of person.
The relocation of my treasured book coincided with small roasting chickens on sale at the local grocer. With a couple of chickens awaiting thier culinary fate, I pored through the pages looking for a savoury challenge and settled on murgh musallam - whole chicken baked in aluminum foil, page 62.
Sixteen ingredients. Of which I had 3. Back to the store, back home, glass of wine in hand I settled into the marinating process.
This recipe is not too complicated to execute. The chicken was beautiful, the flavours layered. I served it with rice and steamed spinach. Three hours after dinner time.
Sale chicken number two was scheduled for the same destiny—this time for the kids to try.
A few days later, I began the process again, working from my perfect memory. NOT.
I ruined the remaining yogurt for the marinade with an enormously mis-remembered dose of turmeric. Yogurt, time and patience all ended up in the sink. I decided I'd cut a few corners and see how it went.
DRY RUB (3 lb roaster)
1.5 tsp turmeric
1.5 tsp powdered ginger
1.5 tsp powdered garlic
0.5 tsp chili flakes
1.5 tsp onion powder.
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp course ground pepper
1 tsp salt.
1 tbsp lemon juice
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil.
Grind all the dry ingredients in a spice grinder.
Add the lemon juice and enough oil to get a nice paste.
This time I didn't skin the chicken. I removed the centre of the back, pressed the chicken flat on a baking sheet, rubbed the paste all over the chicken and left to marinate on the baking sheet, breast down for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 415 F.
Line a clean baking sheet with parchment paper.
Bake the chicken breast-side up for 35 minutes.
Turn breast side down and bake for 10 minutes
Turn breast side up again until showing done with a meat thermometer. 10-15 minutes.
If the skin gets too dark, cover with a piece of foil.
The kids didn't get to eat it.