Tandoori Poussin

This is a great recipe if you want to get a little experimental with spice. It’s also very easy, as the blender is going to do all the work for you.

There are a number of ways in which you can make this recipe easier: firstly you can dispense with the whole spices and just use their powdered equivalents instead. Similarly, you can dispense with the spices altogether and just use a tablespoon of Garam Masala in their place.

Garam Masala is made up of a blend of toasted and ground spices. Each Garam Masala differs. Different brands will use different spices with different ratios, but will often include the classics: cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg. My tip, if you are using Garam Masala in any recipe, is to use a tablespoon and then pick your favourites to be enhanced. For example, if you (like me) love cardamom, then add an additional teaspoon of ground cardamom, which will bring out and highlight the flavour in the masala. If you hate the taste of something – leave it out.

Play around with the flavours and have fun with them. Naturally, I will always say that it is better using whole toasted spices, but ground spices will make this dish quick and convenient. And trust me, it will still be delicious!

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RECIPE: Tandoori Poussin

FLAVOUR PROFILE: Tender chicken with fragrant spices and lime zing.

GOES GREAT WITH: A vegetable curry, rice and some onion bhajis if you want to turn this into a banquet. A stack of roti or naan and some cooling mint raita for a comforting evening meal. Either way, leave the cutlery in the drawer and get stuck in for some finger-licking goodness.

NOTES: This recipe makes 1 Poussin, which generally serves one person and can be easily multiplied, depending on how many you are cooking. If you are cooking a chicken, I would double the recipe.

MAKES: 1 Poussin

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 POUSSIN
  • 5 CARDAMOM PODS, seeds removed from their shells
  • 1 tsp. CUMIN SEEDS
  • 1 tsp. CORIANDER SEEDS
  • 1/4 tsp. FENUGREEK SEEDS
  • 1/4 tsp. FENNEL SEEDS
  • 1/4 CINNAMON STICK
  • 7 BLACK PEPPERCORNS
  • 2 CLOVES
  • 1 DRIED CHILLI
  • 1/2 tsp. TURMERIC
  • 1/8 tsp. NUTMEG
  • 1/4 tsp. SEA SALT
  • 1 inch piece FRESH GINGER, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves GARLIC, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. TOMATO PUREE
  • A few drops of RED FOOD COLOURING (optional)
  • 75g (2.6oz) GREEK YOGHURT
  • 1 LIME, half juiced, the other half sliced into thin moons

METHOD:

  1. The night before: Put all of the WHOLE SPICES (CARDAMOM SEEDS, CUMIN SEEDS, CORIANDER SEEDS, FENUGREEK SEEDS, FENNEL SEEDS, CINNAMON STICK, BLACK PEPPERCORNS, CLOVES and DRIED CHILLI) into a dry frying pan and toast for a few minutes until you can smell their aroma. Watch carefully as they can easily burn.
  2. Decant the spice mix into a small blender. Add the TURMERIC, NUTMEG, SEA SALT, FRESH GINGER, GARLIC, and TOMATO PUREE. Whizz for a minute. Then, add the LIME JUICE, RED FOOD COLOURING (optional) and GREEK YOGHURT, and blend until smooth.
  3. Take the POUSSIN and using your fingers, gently prise away the skin from the breast meat – making a pocket. Spoon some of the filling inside and massage it so that it gets all the way under the skin.
  4. Get a small baking tray and lay the LIME SLICES in an oval in the middle. Lay the Poussin on top, then spoon the rest of the marinade on top, putting some inside the cavity and working it around the legs and wings. The marinade will generously cover the entire bird.
  5. Cover the tray with foil, tenting it so that the marinade doesn’t stick to it, and place in the fridge overnight.
  6. The next day: Preheat the oven to 200c. At the same time, take the bird out of the fridge, discarding the foil, to allow it to come back to room temperature.
  7. Cook in the middle of the oven for 35-45 minutes. Check it with a skewer to test whether it is done. My bird weighed 500g and took 40 minutes.

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