Chef John Malik

a writer trapped in a cook's body

Hashtag Indian Food Palooza


My good friend and the neighbor I wish I had, Barbara Keibel, challenged her followers to participate in an Indian-Style Food celebration so Amy & I decided to play along.  I really love good Indian food and our current favorite restaurant is Handi, on Main street Greenville.  I’m not savvy enough to discern different styles of Indian food, but I’m a big fan of Tandoori chicken.  A tandoori is a type of oven, they’re made out of clay and typically shaped like an upside-down bee hive with the heat source at the bottom and food is cooked inside or on the wall of the oven.  The chicken is marinated in a very spicy mixture of herbs, yogurt, seasonsings, paprika and garam masala.  So on a recent Sunday afternoon I set about making Tandoori Chicken, except I didn’t have any garam amsala and very little paprika but I did have two fat chickens and some willing neighbors.  I walked across the street and invited Chris and Karmen to join in.  All that it would cost them is a jasmine rice dish and the opportunity for me to rummage through their fridge for some ingredients.  Chris told me I was welcome to “anything except for the breast milk.”  More on that later.  Here’s what I stole:

a lemon, a pear, cilantro, two hot sauces and some steak spice blend

Next I rooted through our fridge and made a marinade with these ingredients:

 ¼ cup olive oil

1 tablespoon salt

2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

2 teaspoons “Slap Ya Mama” spice blend or your favorite blend

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 tablespoon fresh ginger

8 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons paprika

 Juice of 1 Lemon

Juice of 1 Apple

Juice of 1 Pear

2 cups plain yogurt

Place first nine ingredients into the bowl of a small food processor then grind until a smooth paste is formed.  Place this in a six-quart bowl, add yogurt and the fruit juices. I use a Breville juicer, of course you could use a lime instead of a lemon, but I didn’t have a lime when I did this, only a lemon.


Whole chickens are the way to go, you just have to be good with a sharp blade

 The next morning I had a TV appearance and a book signing.

Several very pretty ladies that came to my book signing

 When I was done, I came home and lit my Weber Grill and got to work.

Chicken on the grill
Barbara was teasing me after she saw this photo but notice that my coal (heat source) is in the middle of the grill and the chicken is around the outside. You don’t want chicken sitting on top of high heat for very long, it’s too easy to burn considering the amount of fat in the skin and the sweet marinade, so I placed the chicken in a circle around the coals.
Hey I’m the Grill Sargeant, remember?
Forty minutes later:

Almost ready



I also made some Brussels sprouts and carrots with a splash of fresh lemon juice and olive oil.  I served it cold because it was 86 degrees outside today.  The chicken turned out pretty darn good although I thought it needed a bit more salt and Chris wanted it a bit more spicy, but we had some Sriracha, Crystal and Habanero hot sauces, plus I wasn’t trying to be authentic Indian, I just wanted to start with the idea of Tandoori Chicken and go from there.

Perfect for a spring afternoon

And after this very lovely meal we had mango custard that my wife made out of egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, lemon, corn starch, a bit of cream and some mango juice. Quite a refreshing way to finish the evening and it was a great excuse to have the neighbors over as well. Life can be pretty good when you’re married to a professional pastry chef.  Cheers!

Mango custard

 Our youngest neighbor, Aubrie:

No more for me tonight, I'm the designated crawler

Author: ChefJohn

Cook without tattoo, writer without a pen


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