Saturday, 20 June 2015

Spicy Masala Chicken with Tamarind Sauce

This is NOT the same thing as Chicken Marsala! No, it isn’t a typo and I left out the “r”. I’d hate for anyone to get the wrong idea and try this believing it to be the same thing! This recipe is totally different, and unrelated! It uses a mixture of Indian Garam Masala spices and Jerk Seasoning, along with a variety of prepared sauces, each one adding a complimentary flavor to the other. It is not for folks who do not like very spicy food. This is very, very spicy. Jamaican Jerk seasoning and Indian Garam Masala share some of same spices in their mix (Cinnamon, Allspice, Black Pepper, Nutmeg, and Cloves). However, they taste nothing alike due to the addition of other spices in varying proportions. I wanted to see how they complimented each other, using a sauce base of Tamarind Chutney for sweetness, and a Sweet, Hot Tomato chili sauce for a background flavor. The result is a thick spicy sauce that coats the chicken pieces and flavors the meat throughout. Because of its spicy nature, this dish goes well with sweet vegetables such as fried plantain or butternut squash. In the photo, it is paired with sweet butternut squash and sour lime pickle.
A crisp Riesling or a semi-sweet Moscato is perfect to go with this!
These are the ingredients for the sauce.

1 heaping tbsp of Chicken Garam Masala (I use the Shan brand)
1/2 -1 tbsp dried Jerk Seasoning (depending on your tolerance for spiciness)
½ tsp salt
4 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
½ cup Tamarind Chutney (I used the National brand)
1/4 cup Maggi Hot and Sweet Tomato Chili Sauce
¼ cup Sriracha Sauce

1. Make 2-3 cuts in the thighs down to the bone. Season the meat with the spices as you would do with a rub, coating the outside of the meat, rubbing the spice mixture into the slashes.
2. Marinate in a plastic bag overnight in the refrigerator
3. Place the thighs in an oven proof dish, brush on a little cooking oil or ghee, and place under the broiler for the first broil. Broil until the skin bubbles a bit, and chars slightly (see photo).The chicken is NOT cooked at this stage so handle as you would any raw meat.
4. Remove from under broiler and set oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Add sauce mixture to meat in oven proof dish, and cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and uncover. The sauce should be nice and thick (see photo)
Turn the chicken pieces over in the sauce so that it is coated, and on the final turn make sure the pieces are skin side down.(see photo)

6. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake uncovered for15 minutes.
7. Remove dish from oven, turn skin side up, and place under broiler for final broil. The sauce should bubble and slightly caramelize. Broil until a char develops on the skin, and it crisps up in a few places (see photo).  
Final broil with caramelized sauce and skin char

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