Monthly Archives: May 2013

Tandoori Chicken on the Grill

I am a flexitarian like NYT’s Minimalist, Mark Bittman.  I love meat, but I don’t need gigantic portion sizes to be satisfied. I want food that is both nutritious and delicious and that does not take forever to cook, and does not use ultra expensive or hard to find ingredients. Since I cook for the week on the weekend it  also has to reheat well. This chicken is my fall back both for dinners during the week and entertaining. It is easy to make and delicious and you can use the leftovers in everything from tacos to soup.

Tandoori chicken is an extremely popular restaurant dish in India, the chicken is marinated in a yogurt marinade and cooked in a large clay oven called a tandoor, hence the name. As far as I know people usually don’t have tandoors at home in India. Grilling is a good alternative to baking in a tandoor.

I buy one of those gigantic trays of skin on and bone-in thighs. You can substitute breast meat if you insist but thighs are tastier and won’t dry out . They are also cheaper.  You will  have to plan in advance though, since this chicken is best when left to marinate overnight. You do need spices for this dish, lots of them. That is not a problem for me since my pantry is well equipped with spices. This recipe is for  1 tray of chicken thighs, about 5 pounds of chicken.

For the marinade

1 tbsp grated ginger

1tbsp garlic chopped

4 tsp Tandoori chicken masala* ( I have had good results with MDH, Shan and the Everest Brands)

2 tsp cayenne

2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp turmeric

4 tsp kosher salt

Juice of 2 limes

1/2 cup yogurt* ( I use non-fat yogurt but you can use full fat if you like)

drops of red food coloring (optional)

Step 1

Skin the chicken thighs and make gashes on both sides using a knife. Juice the two limes and add the kosher salt.  Put the lime and salt mixture in the gashes. This will help tenderize the chicken. Set aside for about half an hour.

Grind the ginger and garlic in the blender to make a paste. In a glass bowl add together the ginger garlic paste and all the dry spices,  mix well. Now pour the marinade over the chicken thighs, make sure it reaches well into the gashes you made earlier. Now cover and set aside in the fridge for at least six hours, preferably overnight.

Step 2

When the weather is nice, the best way to cook the chicken is on a grill, takes about 15 minutes on each side. When it is raining or too cold to grill, you can cook the chicken in the oven, however it will not be as juicy or delicious  as the one cooked on the grill.  Use either a charcoal or a gas grill. Grill for 10 to 15 minutes on both sides or until juices run clear. Serve with a lime wedge. I usually serve this chicken with naan and yogurt raita.

* You may have to make a trip to your local Indian grocery store if your supermarket’s ethnic aisle does not carry tandoori chicken masala or spice mix, you can also order it online. There are a number of recipes to make your own tandoori chicken masala but I haven’t found one that is as good as the boxed spice mixes mentioned above.  You can store the unused masala in a cool place in your pantry. The above marinade can also be used with shrimp or to make boneless shish kebabs with chicken or chicken tikka.

Caturday Kitteh

Oh the bebbeh?  Don't worry, the dingo has him.

LoL by: two_kittehs

I made you a Caturday morning lol and did not eated it.

Stop Laughing

Stop Laughing

LoL by: two_kittehs

Ginger Kitteh Update

My big orange kitteh has resumed her duties as the alarm clock with no snooze button.   Ginger girl is fond of her breakfast and can always be relied upon to wake me up at the crack of dawn.  So when she stopped waking me up as usual  I knew something was wrong. I actually missed my furry alarm clock. At first, I thought she had developed some sensitivity to her food.  So I tried changing her food. That helped, but only a little.   Stop reading now if you are easily grossed out.  You have been warned.

She was also having problems going to the litter box, she was straining outside it. Then  she stopped eating .  This was highly unusual. I was perplexed and worried.  Couple of visits by our wonderful home-visit vet confirmed what I had suspected. She had a blockage, which was causing severe constipation, which had developed into an obstipation. Poor thing, her plumbing was all blocked up. My guess was that the blockage was caused by ingesting fur,  since it had  happened the last two years after the spring thaw but had eventually resolved itself in a matter of days.

Oral laxatives, even an enema administered by the vet did not relieve the blockage.  I had taken to feeding her through syringes, since the vet was worried about her weight loss and did not want her to get hepatic lipidosis,  a condition that can be fatal if left untreated.  Furry girl had lost 4 pounds from her annual vet visit in mid February.

X-rays confirmed what we had guessed,  a huge chunk of stool was causing the obstipation.  The working hypothesis was that the blockage was caused by ingesting fur and the resultant stool had become too large and solid to pass through her digestive tract without external help.  The vet had to give her general anesthesia and physically extract the blockage.   That plus a week of giving her a stool softener twice a day and Laxatone once  a day, seems to have cleared all the back-up.

Ginger kitteh is back to her normal self, and the none the worse for wear.  Also, the weight loss during the ordeal has been  a blessing in disguise.  Since fat-bottomed girl was a hefty 21 pounds and needed to lose weight.

Niall Ferguson has a jealous

Keynes published his General Theory in the 1930s and pioneered the discipline of Macroeconomics.  A hot topic of public policy debates almost a century later.  I doubt any of Ferguson’s work as an apologist for the British Empire and now as a bard of austerity, will be discussed fifty years from now. So I take all his bigoted statements against Keynes with a grain of salt. He is just jealous.

Niall has a Jealous

LoL by: two_kittehs

Star Trek, Mission Implausible in Space.


I am huge fan of Sherlock and I like Star Trek so I am eagerly awaiting the release of the upcoming sequel to the 2009 reboot.  I also happened to catch the  trailer at the theater when we went to see Argo and it looked impressive. So to get up to speed, I got the 2009 reboot of Trek’s original series by J J Abrams, from my local library, since I missed seeing it the summer it was released.

I have caught reruns of a few episodes of the Original Series (TOS) so I am some what familiar with Kirk and his crew.  But my exposure to Star Trek was mostly The Next Generation (TNG),  Deep Space 9 (DS9) and Voyager.  To me DS9 is the best Trek. Voyager has some good episodes but was by and large a wasted opportunity.   TNG can be a tad too preachy and feels some what dated now, but its cerebral Captain and thoughtful approach to moral dilemmas made it compelling viewing, when I first saw it in the early nineties.  Of late though, Trek has been disappointing. I could not stand the Enterprise series at all, I did not make it beyond the first few episodes. The less said about the last Trek movie, Nemesis, the better.  It was by far one of the worst movies I have ever seen, I could not sit through all of it.  Even the actors seemed bored with the screenplay like I was.

I had heard good things about the 2009 movie and I was curious to see it.  I am disappointed.  It was action packed but lacked emotion or logic.  I will say that this outing of the Trek is not as tired as the last one, but the Romulan villain played by Eric Bana was as compelling the Romulan villain played by Tom Hardy. Another Bald Romulan Baddie. Not scary at all, cartoonish and ridiculous.  That’s what I concluded after watching the frenetic opening sequence with lots of explosions and our hero being born. Not a good omen for the rest of the movie.

The part where the movie worked for me was the introduction of Kirk and his crew. They were all good but  Quinto stood out as the young Spock.  Zoe Saldana, had nothing much to do except look pretty and kiss one of the leading men, you can guess who.  Kirk’s promotion to Captain was a bit silly.  Original Spock also makes an appearance and plays an important role. My reaction, to his presence, highly illogical.

What was yawn inducing  was the plot of the planet destroying super villain, who wants to destroy Vulcan and then the earth. He is from the future, and he is pissed at Spock.  The planet sized plot holes and logical inconsistencies in the script made the spectacle on the screen difficult to enjoy. BTW those worried about US supremacy in the future should rest easy. Because in the future’s future even planet destroying evil Romulan super villain speaks with barely a trace of an accent.  However the mystery that confounded me for the rest of the duration of the movie was why  earthlings in Kirk’s era speak  with their accents intact but the Romulan in Kirk’s future doesn’t.

I was surprised by the high marks this movie received from both critics and audiences alike.  It was a summer action blockbuster with less depth than  The Independence Day.  The movie was slick but not thought provoking which the best Trek can be, see for example TNG’s Darmok or DS9’s In the Pale Moon Light.  This movie was all action without a strong story line to back it up. It was like junk food, delicious but without nutrition. Even the destruction of Vulcan and killing off Spock’s mother had little emotional resonance for me.

I do like the dynamic between new Kirk and new Spock, so I will give the sequel a chance and see it when it is released in May. Cumberbatch’s villain in the sequel is not Romulan and has hair, so that gives me some hope.

Grade: C

Me after reading a column by Tom Friedman

Superior cat is superior

LoL by: two_kittehs

If you must, here is the column in question.

This is just from the first paragraph, my eyes glazed over and I stopped reading.  Does Friedman have a built-in random sentence generator, like most calculators have a random number generator?

We now live in a 401(k) world — a world of defined contributions, not defined benefits — where everyone needs to pass the bar exam and no one can escape the most e-mailed list.