I'm not really a believer in New Years resolutions. But if I came close to having one, it was that I was definitely going to keep up to date with the Cook Book Challenge. Well, it's nearly the end of Feb and I'm yet to do it once.
I guess the reason there is that I basically haven't been home to cook. I've been so flat out that I pretty much skipped dinner in favour of sleep. My now my schedule is starting to slow down (i.e. working from home rather than doing 16 hour days on top of a 3 hour commute) so I've been able to return to cooking over the last week.
This coincided with my dad giving me yet another two books from the op-shop. Both these books had so many appetising recipes inside it really got the desire to cook returning.
One of these was The Australian Women's Weekly's "Easy Curry Cookery". Not that there is usually much difficulty in creating a curry, but perhaps the name is aimed at attracting those who've never experienced curry before.
Having said that, this dish is one of the more fiddly in the book. You do have to skin the chickens almost entirely. This can be time consuming if you've never done it before, but chicken skin is really easy to remove. If you've ever done a blunt dissection in a biology class, you'll find this process to be identical. The easiest way is to use scissors to cut through the skin along the breast bone: be sure to angle the scissors upwards so as not to pierce the muscle. Then it is as simple as peeling back the skin. You may find it helpful to use either your scissors of a small knife to clear away the fascia (the clear connective tissue between the skin and meat) as you go.
The one deviation I made from the recipe was to do this ahead of time and allow the chickens to marinate during the day. I find with tandoori especially, if you do not give it some time you lose a lot of the flavour.
This is the first time I've made tandoori chicken using a whole chicken, and we were really pleased with the results. Even my boyfriend, who hates anything with bones or fat and will usually only eat the breast meat of a chicken, enjoyed it all. He even ate one of the wings!
The coconut pilau was similarly yummy. As much as I like coconut, I usually dislike coconut rice. But this was lovely.
Tandoori Chicken with Coconut Pilau
2 x no. 9 chickens [meaning just under 1kg – the smallest I could find was 1.3kg and that worked fine. You wouldn't want to go much larger, though]
200g carton plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon tandoori mix*
60g ghee, melted [if your local supermarket doesn't stock this, you can clarify the butter yourself]
*Tandoori Mix (this makes 1/4 of a cup)