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Indian-Spiced Chicken with Lime & Cilantro

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Serves 6

  • Make the menu:
    A Passage to India
  • by Melissa Clark from Fine Cooking
    Issue 90

If you can’t find fenugreek seeds in your supermarket, you can order them online from Adriana's Caravan.

  • 1 Tbs. coriander seed
  • 1 Tbs. cumin seed
  • 1/2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp. fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, plus additional leaves for garnish
  • Freshly squeezed juice of 1 medium lime (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 scallions (white and green parts), 1 cut into 1-inch lengths, 1 thinly sliced for garnish
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1-1/4 tsp. kosher salt; more to taste
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 6 small (3/4 lb.) skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts or 12 medium (6 oz.) thighs (or a combination), trimmed of excess skin and fat
  • Lime wedges for garnish

In a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat, toast the coriander and cumin, shaking the pan or stirring frequently, until the cumin seeds darken and become very fragrant, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, add the peppercorns and fenugreek, and grind to a fine powder.

Combine the cilantro, lime juice, garlic, 1-inch scallion pieces, canola oil, salt, turmeric, and ground spice mixture in a blender or food processor; blend into a smooth purée.

Put the chicken pieces in a large bowl, add the marinade, and turn to coat the pieces all over with the marinade. Set aside while you heat the broiler; or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Position an oven rack about 8 inches from the broiler element; heat the broiler on high. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Arrange the chicken pieces, skin side up, on the baking sheet. If using a combination of parts, put the breast pieces on one end of the baking sheet and the thighs on the other end. Sprinkle generously with salt.

When the broiler is hot, broil until the chicken skin is brown and crisp all over, with some singed bits, about 20 minutes, rotating the pan occasionally for even browning. Check the chicken for doneness, either by cutting into pieces to see if they’re cooked through or by using an instant-read thermometer—breasts should be 165°F, thighs should be 170°F. If some or all of the chicken is still underdone by the time the skin is well browned, turn off the broiler and set the oven temperature at 450°F. Continue roasting the chicken, checking every 5 minutes, until cooked through, 5 to 15 minutes more. If some pieces finish earlier than others, transfer them to a platter and keep warm while you continue to roast the underdone pieces.

Arrange all of the chicken on a serving platter and garnish with the cilantro leaves, sliced scallion, and lime wedges.

Make Ahead Tips

The chicken can be marinated up to a day ahead.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 420; Fat (g): 18; Fat Calories (kcal): 160; Saturated Fat (g): 4.5; Protein (g): 60; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8; Carbohydrates (g): 2; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4; Sodium (mg): 310; Cholesterol (mg): 165; Fiber (g): 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Outstanding! I marinated the chicken for about 8 hours and put it on the grill to cook. Absolutely wonderful, moist and tender. My hubby and I liked this recipe a lot. This is a keeper!

This was superb. I used chicken tenderloins because that is what I had in my freezer and they worked very well. We were careful not to over cook them so they were moist and tender.

DELICIOUS and very easy, especially if you plan ahead the day before. I paired it with a basmati rice pilaf and roasted cauliflower. One word of caution - be prepared for some smoke from the oven! I may try broiling at a lower temp (400?) next time to avoid the smoke.

It was a delight to shop for the spices in this recipe. We were on a mission to find fenugreek and finally found it in the healthfood store. I marinated the chicken overnight. The aroma of this coming off of the grill was incredible. It tasted as good as it smelled. We loved it.

Excellent Grilled chicken option- very flavorful. Pair with a basmati or jasmine rice.

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