It started when I saw a recipe in AARP’s August issue. Monica Bhide offered Tandoori Chicken “My Way”. Her way turned out to be a store bought tandoori spice mix instead of the way her mama prepares it…by grinding her own spices and making her own yogurt. It looked lucious. I had to try it. Thus began the quest for tandoori spice mix in my local super market. No dice. I tried the local health food store. Nada.
I called my girlfriend Sue, a transplanted Brit, who knows Indian cuisine. She was out of tandoori spice mix but had a leftover spice mix from a pork tapas with a marinade called ras el hanout. All she could tell me was that she hand ground 13 different spices. She couldn’t remember what the spices were but told me I could pour over just about anything. What the hell. She brought me a ziplock baggie of it the next evening.
The next morning, anxious to give it a go, and with a package of defrosted chicken thighs, I prepared the maranade: yogurt, fresh ginger, garlic and the exotic powdered blend, ras el hanout. Ras el hanout, according to Wikimedia is an Arabic blend used across North Africa and includes cardamom, clove, cinnamon, chili peppers, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, peppercorn and last but not least turmeric.
For the recipe go to: http://www.aarp.org/food/recipes/
It went into the oven this evening, after 10 hours of soaking in this maranade. Thirty minutes later….voila, ready to serve with lemon wedges, sliced red onions and rice. I chose a combo of basmati and wild for the rice. Wonderful. It had a bite but not overly so. Absolutely wonderful. It’s a keeper.
Curious as to how much different the ras el hanout was from traditional tandoori spice mix, I compared the ingredients. Very close, as it turns out. Tandoori has ginger, cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, salt and cayenne.