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Recipe: Tandoori chicken, Tarka dal and spiced vegetables

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It’s a wee bit nippy outside and the walk home from lectures and seminars can be a wearisome exercise of tired steps accompanied by tasking sniffs. At times like this, being greeted by a pallid bowl of noodles isn’t an attractive proposition. Instead, inspire your nose by the scent of these hot, spicy dishes.
This is an inexpensive and wholesome meal. Be resourceful and use whatever spices you have and think will work; the ones listed are a guideline, though I would recommend getting some turmeric and mustard seeds for the Tarka dal.
Tarka dal is made up of two separate entities;  the dal refers to the yellow split lentil, while the tarka is the blend of hot oil, spices and occasionally onions that goes into it at the end.
Serve with a few chapattis to mop up the dal.
To drink, try Magners’ pear and ginger cider, available from B&M’s for £1.59 a bottle (500ml). The warming ginger will complement the spice, while the sweetness of the pear will contrast the hot chilli.

dal

Tarka Dal

Ingredients

  • 400g yellow split lentils (available from Morrisons and very cheap)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1tbsp ground ginger
  • 1tbsp ground cumin
  • 1tbsp turmeric
  • 1tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 red chillies, finely chopped and deseeded
  • Fresh coriander (dried is fine)
  • 2tbsp vegetable oil (any flavourless oil will work)
  • Salt

Method

  1. Wash the dal until the water runs clear, drain, and place in a pan filled with two litres of cold water.
  2. Bring to the boil. Take care to skim off any scum that rises to the top.
  3. Add the garlic, turmeric, chillies and a pinch of salt to the pan. Turn the heat down to its lowest setting, lid slightly ajar, and cook for at least an hour and a half. The final consistency should be reminiscent of a thick, winter soup.
  4. Stir it occasionally to make sure it isn’t catching at the bottom.
  5. For the Tarka, heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. Once they’ve started to pop, add the diced onion and cumin. Cook for a few minutes until the onions lose their harsh, raw texture. Combine with the cooked dal and stir in a big handful of chopped coriander.

Tandoori Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1.5kg chicken thighs (skinless)
  • 1 lemon
  • 4tbsp paprika
  • Vegetable oil
  • 500ml plain yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1tbsp ground cumin
  • 1tbsp ground ginger
  • 1tbsp garam masala
  • 1tbsp turmeric
  • Salt

Method

  1. Combine the lemon juice and paprika in a bowl. Make three incisions in the chicken pieces and mix them in. Set aside for five minutes.
  2. To the yogurt, add the garlic, cumin, ginger, garam masala, turmeric and salt. Cover and place in the fridge for at least half an hour (ideally overnight).
  3. To cook, heat your grill and place the chicken onto a rack over a lined baking tray. Brush the grill with a little oil and cook for 8 minutes each side.
  4. They should be charred and running with clear juices when prodded with a skewer.
  5. Season with a squeeze of lemon and pinch of salt.

Spiced roast vegetables

Ingredients

  • 8 small carrots, peeled and left whole
  • 8 baby parsnips, peeled and left whole
  • 2tbsps honey
  • 1 lime
  • 1tbsp turmeric
  • 1tbsp garam masala
  • 50ml olive oil
  • Salt
  • Fresh chopped coriander

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 200c. Put the carrots and parsnips in a roasting tray (one large enough so they’re not crammed and have room to roast, not stew).
  2. Add the oil, the juice of half the lime, the spices and salt. Mix well and roast for forty minutes, turning after twenty.
  3. Coat the vegetables with honey and cook for a further ten minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.


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About Author

I'm a 21-year-old student in my final year of an English Literature degree. I'm currently the food and drink editor for the paper because of my passion for all things food related. Following on from an essay on George Orwell's portrayal of food, I'll soon be starting my dissertation on the use of food in literature set in 1920s Paris. Feel free to send me an email if there's a restaurant, café or bar in North Wales that you've particularly enjoyed and I'll be sure to check it out.

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