Laxmi's spinach chicken

Spinach Crusted Tandoori Chicken for Memorial Day

This is easily one of my favorite twists on tandoori chicken a little green than the red version. The marinade is one of the most beautiful spring-green colors. I have infused it with a unique combination of leafy greens, cilantro and green chiles. Here the raw onion is caramelized to make it more flavorful.

Grill this chicken on your Memorial Day weekend and impress your guests with delightful and unique flavors.

  • 4 pounds (4 medium-large) chicken legs, skinned
  • 1 ½ -inch thick slice of fresh ginger
  • 6 large garlic cloves
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 2½ tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • ½ cup sliced onion
  • 1 fresh hot green chile, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach with tender stems
  • 1 cup chopped fresh Swiss chard with tender stems
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter for basting
  • Beautiful sprigs of watercress
  • Yellow pear and red tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 lime or lemon cut into wedges

Rinse the chicken legs well, then pat dry. Score the meat by making shallow slits or slashes at intervals over the legs. Place in a large bowl.

Combine the ginger, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, turmeric, 2 tablespoons oil, and ¼ cup yogurt in a blender. Process until pureed and smooth. Transfer to a medium glass bowl. Whisk in the remaining ¾ cup yogurt. Pour the marinade over the chicken and rub into the flesh. Cover and set aside at cool room temperature for 1 hour, or refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

Heat the remaining ½ tablespoon oil in a skillet over moderate heat. Add the onion and sauté for 10 to 12 minutes, until it turns a rich brown. Add the chile, coriander, spinach and Swiss chard, stir 1 minute. Cover and cook until the greens are wilted, 4 minutes. Transfer to a blender. Add the salt and blend to a smooth puree. Pour the spinach mixture over the chicken. Rub the mixture into the flesh. Cover and refrigerate for at least 5 hours or overnight. Turn the chicken pieces occasionally in the marinade.

Prepare a charcoal fire, letting the coals burn until they are covered with a gray ash and are medium-hot. Position the grill grate about 8 inches above the coals and lightly oil. Lay the chicken pieces on the hottest portion of the grill, cover, and let them cook about 12 minutes on one side, baste with butter if desired, then turn and finish on the other side until tender 10 to 12 minutes more.

Line a warm serving platter with sprigs of watercress and surround with thick slices of yellow and red tomatoes. Use tongs to transfer chicken to the platter and you’re ready to serve. Pass the lime wedges on the side for your guests to sprinkle on the chicken if needed.

Serves 4.

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