This Indian Inspired Grilled Chicken recipe isn’t authentic in the slightest, but it is pretty tasty (if I do say so myself). There’s minimal prep work for the chicken, making it one of those dishes you can sort out the night before and then forget about. Easy peasy!
This dish came about when I wanted to have my favourite mild and creamy Coconut Curry for a Saturday night dinner. The only problem was that I’d be out during the day and knew I’d not be in the mood to do any real cooking when I got back home. That means I needed a prep and forget dish.
So I based the idea on my grilled Thai Red Curry Chicken – taking the flavours of the curry I liked and putting them in coconut milk based marinade. Sounds good, right?
To start with I thought I needed to create a wet curry paste, where the spices are toasted, ground up and added to a paste of chilli, garlic and ginger before being cooked off in some oil. And it was fine, it worked – but I actually found it a bit long winded for a dish that I wanted to be quick and simple.
A version made with the wet paste is pictured above, served with green beans, roasted butternut squash and a sultana-cashewnut couscous.
The recipe I finally settled on is much more ‘throw it all together’. You’ll still need to toast some spices and grind them up, but it takes five minutes and you can be getting on with the rest of the mix as they heat through. I’m also using both turmeric and paprika for colour, along with coriander, dried coriander leaf and cumin.
Wait a second, dried coriander leaf? Unfortunately as I’m in Germany I couldn’t get my hands on any leafy fresh coriander for when I’d planned on making this recipe. Cooking over the Christmas and New Year holidays does mean some sacrifices have to be made!
Whilst dried really doesn’t hold a candle to the fresh stuff, I’ve opted to keep with the dried kind so that everything needed is a store cupboard ingredient. It also avoids burning bits of coriander leaf to your chicken as it cooks! If you can get hold of the fresh stuff though and like the taste (I know some people think it tastes like soap) then serve the cooked chicken with a handful of leaves scattered over the top.
Regardless of how you choose to serve it though, do make sure you include some red onion in the mix somewhere. I think it really helps bring the meal together. Happily, if you make the Naan bread to go along with the chicken (and really, you should, it’s delicious), there’s enough natural yogurt left over to make a quick onion raita to drizzle over the top.
To sum up: This chicken is an easy ‘prep and forget’ dish for when you’ve been out and about all day. If you do have the time though, it’s fabulous in the homemade naan wrap (though that does need a bit more time and effort).
As I say, this dinner isn’t authentic in the slightest… but a tastily spiced chicken on a bed of grated carrot and pepper, drizzled with onion raita and served on a garlic butter brushed, soft and gently chewy homemade naan bread? Delicious! At least, we thought so and I hope you do too!
Indian Inspired Grilled Chicken
A coconut curry inspired spice mix marinated chicken, grilled and served with onion raita and a garlic butter brushed homemade naan bread.
Course: Main Course
For the Chicken
- 2 Skinless Chicken Breasts
- 1 tsp Yellow Mustard Seeds
- 1 Clove
- 2 Green Cardamom Pods
- Large Pinch Curry Leaves
- 1/4 tsp Ground Turmeric
- 1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
- 1/2 tsp Ground Coriander
- 1/2 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Dried Coriander Leaf
- 1 tsp Minced Ginger
- 1 tsp Minced Garlic
- 1 Whole, Fresh Chilli (Red or Yellow, washed)
- 165 ml Tin of Full Fat Coconut Milk or Coconut Cream
For the Naan
- 250 g Strong White Bread Flour
- 1/2 7g Packet Fast Action / Easy / Instant Yeast
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 125 ml Hot Water
- 3 heaped tablespoons Natural Yogurt
- 1 tsp Runny Honey
- 20 g Butter (Cold)
- 1 tbsp Nigella Seeds
For the Garlic Butter
- 20-30 g Butter
- 1 tsp Minced Garlic
- Finely Shredded Fresh or Dried Coriander Leaf (Optional)
For the Onion Raita
- 3 tablespoons Natural Yogurt
- Finely Chopped Red Onion (to taste)
- Runny Honey (to taste)
- Salt (to taste)
- Coriander Leaf (Optional, dried or fresh, to taste)
Prep the Chicken
- In a pan on a low heat, add the mustard seeds, clove, cardamom and curry leaves. Toast gently until aromatic, then grind to a powder in a pestle and mortar. Discard the large papery cardamom pod casing.
- In a dish that snugly fits two chicken breasts, add all the spices, ginger and garlic. Hold the chilli by the top and use a pair of scissors to snip slices into the dish.
- Add the coconut cream and mix thoroughly. The thicker the coconut cream, the better it will coat your chicken. If you want to easily remove the cream from a tin of coconut milk, put it in the fridge for a while first. The cream will harden up and be easy to separate from the liquid.
- Sit the chicken breasts in the marinade and coat well. Clingfilm the dish and place it back in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Give it a few hours or overnight.
For the Naan (Adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe)
- Boil the kettle.
- In a large bowl mix all of the dry ingredients together.
- Pour 125ml of the boiled water into a measuring jug. Add the honey and the butter then give it a stir until the butter has melted. Add the yogurt and stir again. Dip a clean finger into the liquid to test for temperature – if it’s scalding, leave it a few minutes before using. We don’t want to kill the yeast!
- Mix the liquid into the dry ingredients and bring the dough together. Knead the mixture together until it forms a soft and smooth dough. It’s quite a sticky mixture so I do this with a hand held mixer fitted with dough hooks.
- Once the dough has become smooth and elastic, drop it back into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm. Allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 & 1/2 hours.
- Once risen, split the dough into two. Add a half tablespoon of nigella seeds to each portion and knead them in gently – knocking the dough back as you go. Shape each portion into a ball, then roll out to a thin circle approximately 24-28cm in diameter.
- Place a large 24-28cm diameter frying pan on a high heat. Allow the pan a few minutes to come to temperature, then place one of the breads in the pan. Leave it to cook for 3 minutes, then check the underside. You’re looking for a lightly browned colour and a spot or two of charring. Once you’ve got that, flip it over for a couple of minutes to cook the other side.
- Slide the cooked naan onto a piece of tinfoil, cover the top with tinfoil and place in the bottom of your oven / grill (where ever you’re cooking the chicken) to keep warm whilst the second naan bread cooks.
For the Garlic Butter
- Pop a large knob of butter into a microwavable dish. Cover with clingfilm and heat for about 10 seconds, until the butter has just melted. Add a teaspoon of minced garlic and a sprinkling of coriander leaf (optional).
For the Raita
- Put the yogurt in a small dish and add the finely chopped red onion. Do this bit by bit, until you’ve got a texture and strength of flavour you like. Add honey for sweetness if needed, a pinch of salt to taste and coriander leaf if you like it.
Cook the Chicken & Assemble
- Pre-heat the grill portion of your oven to its highest temperature.
- Line your grill tray with tinfoil, placing the metal rack on top carefully so as not to pierce the foil underneath. This will save you some annoying washing up!
- Place the chicken breasts on the metal rack, removing any chilli pieces. Spoon a little extra marinade over the top to ensure it’s fully coated. Put the chicken under the pre-heated grill for about 9 minutes, until the sauce is starting to char. Don’t be tempted to mess with it, you’ll knock the sauce off!
- Turn the chicken breasts over and spoon over any remaining marinade to fully coat the chicken. Put the chicken back under the grill for a further 9 minutes, or until fully cooked.
- Once cooked, place a loose tinfoil cover over the chicken and allow to rest for five minutes. Once rested, carve the meat into slices.
- Top the naan bread with a generous brush of garlic butter, grated carrot and sliced pepper. Then add the sliced chicken breast, a drizzle of red onion raita and a sprinkling of fresh coriander leaf (optional). Fold it up as best you can, like a massive naan wrap, and enjoy!
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