The end of October and beginning of November sees India, Guyana, and Singapore celebrated the traditional 5-day festival of lights, Diwali. The celebration has many religious implications for the Hindu, Sikh, and Kain faiths. Diwali is marked by the lighting of small clay lamps filled with oil to mark the triumph of good over evil.
Today’s journey in the International Aisle leads us into the Indian section. Ahh, smell the curry.
Spoiler alert: We hate getting all excited about a recipe then finding out how long it will take to marinate after we get started. So, fair warning: This recipe calls for marinating chicken for at least two hours.
Make your own masala
Today’s ingredient focus is on masala, a staple in most Indian dishes. Masala is a blend of spices, and these blends will vary from recipe to recipe, and region to region. The recipe we’re featuring today calls for garam masala. Garam masala is, usually, a blend of many common spices found in your spice rack. Though the word garam is the Hindi for “hot,” garam masala isn’t a hot mixture as we know it. In this case, garam refers to the intensity of the spices involved, not hot like a chili pepper.
You can buy pre-mixed garam masala in your local Indian food store or in most supermarket international aisles. However, it’s also very easy to make at home. To really enhance the international element of this particular dish, have the kids help mix the spices needed to prepare the homemade garam masala. Most of the ingredients will be familiar, but when combined, they create a completely unique flavor.
- 10 to 12 bone-in skinless chicken thighs
- 1 cup strained yogurt
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 1 tablespoon ginger, freshly grated
- 1 tablespoon garlic
- 2 teaspoons fresh coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons honey
- In a medium-size bowl, combine yogurt, lemon, ginger, garlic, coriander, cumin, masala, kosher salt, black pepper, paprika, cayenne, and honey. Pour the marinade into a resealable plastic bag.
- Cut three diagonal slits on each thigh, cutting nearly to the bone.
- Place the chicken thighs into the bag and coat with marinade. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours.
- When the marinade is complete, preheat oven to 375°F.
- Place the chicken onto a broiling pan to catch drippings.
- Set the wire rack in the oven to its lowest position.
- Bake the chicken for 35 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 170°F. Serves 8.
Some more options
Here are other recipes you can prepare with your garam masala: