When I plan my weekly menus, I have to take into account whether or not it is a week that I have Marco with me. I’ve talked before about how he is an average kid with average kid tastes (much to my dismay), and I don’t see the point in force feeding him foods that I myself didn’t start liking until my teenage years, or even adulthood. I’d rather the kid eat his meal and go to bed on a full tummy than have a battle at the dinner table over barbeque ribs (because that’s happened before, and it just ended with a lot of tears and everybody being really mad at each other).
That means that on weeks that Yuseff and I are alone, we experiment with international cuisine and bold flavors, and on weeks that we have Marco we stick to spaghetti and meatballs, tacos, fish sandwiches, homemade pizzas, etc. The other option is always to make “plain” versions of our meals for Marco. So if we’re having Jamaican Curry Chicken, I make a separate, plain piece of chicken for Marco.
But earlier this week, when I decided to make Tandoori Chicken (original recipe) and Naan (original recipe), I forgot to set aside the extra piece of chicken for Marco’s plain piece and threw it all into the marinade. With no time to defrost more chicken (and no need for the extra three pieces in the pack) I decided that we’d have to just roll with it and see what happens.
For Marco’s meal, I pulled his chicken off of the bone, layed it on a piece of naan, and covered it with American Cheese (I know that sounds gross, but it has the same effect on kids as Ketchup…). I folded it in half, and viola!– a chicken taco. As we sat at the table, Yuseff and I kept watching Marco and holding our breaths, waiting for the inevitable I don’t like my taco–it’s yucky. To our surprise, it never came! So, there is hope that my little boy has a shot at following in our footsteps and becoming an epicurean.
Tandoori Chicken —print this recipe
Step 1: Heat 3 tbsp vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Then add 1 teaspoon each of cumin, tumeric, and coriander; 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1 Tbsp each of paprika and garam masala. If you cannot find garam masala in your supermarket, you can make a similar blend using this recipe.
Step 2: After 2-3 minutes, remove spice blend from heat and let cool completely. Once cool, stir it into 1 cup plain yogurt, then add 1/2 tbsp minced garlic and 2 tbsp each ginger and lemon juice.
Step 3: Rinse 4 bone-in chicken thighs under cool water and pat dry with a paper towel. Use a knife to cut slits into the thighs and then toss them in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate 1-6 hours.
Step 4: Heat a small amount of oil in a cast iron pan until very hot (it will start to smoke). Shake excess marinade from the chicken and place it in the pan. Sear it on both sides for 2-3 minutes on each side, then transfer the pan to a 400° oven until the chicken is cooked through.
Naan — print this recipe
Step 1: Combine 2 tsp active dry yeast (that’s almost 1 packet), with 1 tsp sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small bowl. Let sit for about 10 minutes– it will get foamy and frothy on top.
Step 2: Add 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1 egg, and 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt to the yeast mixture.
Step 4: Turn the dough out on a well-floured board and knead for 3 minutes. You may end up having to add more flour as you go to keep the dough from becoming too sticky. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes– it will double in size. The pictures below kind of illustrate this, but I was zoomed in on the “before” picture so they almost look the same…
Step 5: Press down on your risen dough and use a pizza cutter to slice it into 8 even pieces. Make the 8 pieces into balls and roll them out one at a time until they are nice and thin.
Step 6: Heat a pan over medium heat and lightly coat with non-stick spray. Drop your flattened dough into the hot pan and cook until you see bubbles form on the surface. Then flip and cook the other side until golden brown.
Serve Tandoori Chicken with a piece of Naan and a side of Rice