On a recent visit to London, I ate at Gymkhana, a well known Michelin-starred restaurant in the center of the city. Every dish was memorable, but my favorite was a plate of tender, golden grilled chicken thighs that boasted incredibly moist flesh. When I asked our server how they were made, she volunteered only that the chicken was marinated in yogurt, homemade Indian mustard, fresh ginger, and spices. After returning to my small Parisian kitchen, I was determined to make a version to savor again.
For the marinade I whisked whole yogurt, mustard, and freshly grated ginger with lemon juice, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Dijon mustard stood in for the Indian variety that was unavailable locally. The chicken I had sampled across the Channel was reminiscent of tandoori chicken, but it was a rich golden color rather than the usual vibrant orange hue. So, I decided to omit the red food coloring often called for in tandoori dishes.
To ensure that the chicken was moist, I roasted the thighs on a rack set over a pan of hot water for 30 minutes, and then finished them on the grill. Slightly charred on the outside and extra juicy within, they are delicious when garnished simply with cilantro and lemon wedges. Add them to your menu for July 4th and watch them disappear quicklyPrint This Recipe
Tandoori-Style Grilled Chicken Thighs
8 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds total)
1/2 cup plain whole fat yogurt, (Greek or regular yogurt both work well.)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
2 tsp smashed and chopped garlic
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper plus extra for seasoning
3 tbsp lemon juice
Canola or olive oil for oiling grill rack
4 tsp chopped cilantro for garnish
One lemon cut into 8 lemon wedges for garnish
1. With a sharp knife, make several slits on the top side of each of the chicken thighs so it will absorb the marinade better.
2. In a shallow, medium nonreactive bowl, whisk together yogurt, mustard, ginger, garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper until well blended. Whisk in the lemon juice. Then add the chicken and turn several times until coated well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 4 hours or even better overnight, turning several times.
3. When ready to cook chicken, remove the thighs from the refrigerator. Arrange a rack at center position and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Set a rack over a medium large roasting pan filled half full with hot water. Arrange the chicken pieces on the rack leaving space around each so that they are not touching. Roast chicken for 30 minutes. It will should be opaque but not completely cooked through.
4. While chicken is in the oven, oil a grill rack and prepare grill for a hot fire.
5. Remove the chicken from the oven, and use tongs to transfer immediately to the hot grill. Sprinkle with a little more cayenne pepper. Cook, turning several times until juices run clear when thighs are pierced with a sharp knife, and are browned and slightly charred on both sides, 10 to 15 minutes. Grilling time can vary depending on type of grill used and intensity of heat so watch carefully. (You can also use a stovetop grill pan. Set it over medium high heat and oil generously. Add chicken when pan is very hot and lower heat if chicken starts to brown too quickly.)
6. Arrange the chicken on a platter, sprinkle with cilantro, and garnish with lemon wedges. Makes 8 thighs.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2016