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Easy Grilled Tandoori Chicken

I have a guilty pleasure called The Next Food Network Star. This season I cheered and hooted and hollered for Aarti Sequeira from Day 1. Why? Other than the fact that she’s gorgeous, I was incredibly interested in her food. Drooling all over myself interested.

Indian food is one of those things that can be hard to jump into when you were raised on a completely different style of cooking, and while I had dabbled, I was really excited to see what kind of flavors and tips and tricks (and smells) Aarti would have to share if she won. Lucky for me, I got my wish and Aarti Party is now on The Food Network.

One of the first Indian dishes I made for myself and didn’t order in a restaurant was grilled tandoori chicken. There are only a few spices on the list that venture outside the realm of what I keep in my pantry on any given day, and grilling is something most people can manage if they give it a go making this grilled tandoori chicken the perfect starter recipe for someone looking to branch out and bring a little Indian spice in.

Easy Grilled Tandoori Chicken

1 whole fryer chicken, cut into pieces, skin removed
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 lemon, juiced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1 dry red chili, crushed (optional if you don’t like heat)
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
3 tablespoons olive oil

Heat grill to medium-high heat. Place chicken pieces in a shallow bowl or dish and prick the flesh with a fork on both sides. Using a knife, make small, shallow cuts 1/2″ apart in the chicken pieces. In a separate bowl mix together the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, ginger and all the spices into a thick marinade. Pour marinade over chicken and spread to coat both sides. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes.

Place the chicken on the grill and cook over a medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Baste with olive oil before flipping. Continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes, flipping one more time before pulling off the grill. Juices should run clear.

Allow chicken to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with grilled or steamed vegetables and naan.

Makes 4-6 servings.

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