Rainy Day People


Over coffee yesterday I was a bit preoccupied trying to puzzle out how I could make chicken tandoori in the oven.  Yes, I know that it should be grilled but with the weather we’re getting this week, I didn’t want to stand miserably in the rain.  Anyway, even though the tandoori wouldn’t be traditional/authentic,  I was sure my friends would forgive me and try to enjoy it for what it was.  And that reminded me of the song Rainy Day People and of Cecilia who is the kind of person this song was written about and who was there for me during my storm.  Thanks girl!

I’ve seen some pretty good Indian food prepared by non-Indians on a lot of blog sites.  One example is Frugal’s chana masala.  A recipe like this, coming from a Welsh/British person comes as no surprise, really, because of Britain’s long standing, colonial, die-hard relationship with India.  Happily for us visitors to the United Kingdom, when the Brits absolutely, positively had to, finally, leave India, they brought a lot of Indians back with them and, as I have said before, has some of the finest Indian cuisine outside of India.


So why am I talking about this?  Well, it’s because lately I have been exposed to some of the most unsightly, unappetizing, non-authentic Indian food made by an Indian who was born in India!  Don’t get me wrong, non-authenticity is not my major objection in cuisines. I’m okay with Indian-like food but this food didn’t look or taste good.  Appalled, I had to make some Indian food myself to erase the memory.  So that’s why.  I used some chicken thighs from the freezer and I couldn’t bring myself to remove the skin. Remember what I said about rainy day people 😉


I cleaned out my kitchen cabinets for a couple of days and found the ingredients for dal makhani.  The Lord knows how old the black beans were!  Still this was better than the last dal makhani I made, but I suggest that if you use dried beans, try for fresher ones than I had.  It makes for a shorter cooking time 🙂

Inspiration for the tandoori comes from Divya’s Culinary Journey.

Oven Chicken Tandoori

6-8 chicken thighs, skin on or off

1 red onion, chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp paprika

1 cup Greek yogurt

1 inch ginger, minced

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 tsp garam masala

1/2  tsp cumin

1/4 tsp Indian chili powder

1/4 tsp turmeric

1 tbsp melted ghee

Make four slashes parallel to the bone on the chicken thighs.  Mix the thighs, onion, juice and paprika together until the meat is well coated.  Set aside for a few minutes.

Mix together the yogurt, ginger, garlic and spices, then pour over the chicken and mix well. Refrigerate over night.

Fire up the oven to 425 F.  Cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil and spray with Pam. Place the thighs on top of the foil, skin side down, then roast for 20 minutes, turn and roast for another 15 minutes.  Brush the skin with the ghee and broil for about 5 minutes.

Of course you can just cook the chicken on the grill which would be better although this was very good.

Dal Makhani

1 1/2 cups black matpe beans

1/2 cup red kidney beans

2 tsp salt

2 tsp Indian chili powder

3 tbsp ghee

2 tsp cumin seed

1 large onion, chopped

1 head garlic, chopped

2 inches fresh ginger, chopped

2 cans diced tomatoes

3 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp garam masala

1 cup fresh cream

1/2 tsp Indian (blue) fenugreek powder

Cover the beans with about 2 inches of water and soak overnight.  Add the salt and chili powder to the water, bring to a boil and simmer very low for 2 – 3 hours, depending on the age of your beans.  You can start testing them for creaminess at about 2 hours.

In the meantime, heat the ghee in a large skillet, add the cumin seed and toast for about a minute.  Add the onion, garlic and ginger, then saute until the onion is soft and somewhat golden.  Add the tomatoes, paste and garam masala, then simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Drain the beans when ready, reserving the cooking water.  Return the drained beans to the flame and add the tomato mixture, coarsely mashing and cooking the beans on very low flame for about 5 minutes.  Gradually stir in the reserved bean cooking liquid and simmer for about 15 minutes on a low flame, stirring occasionally.  Add the cream, then stir and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.  Stir in the fenugreek powder and serve with chapatis.




About cookinginsens

An American living in Burgundy, France
This entry was posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, Indian, Main dishes, Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Rainy Day People

  1. Thanks for the link 🙂 – good to see you make some gorgeous Indian food! Shame about the non-authentic Indian though… I think I need to make a dal makhani…

    • Dal makhani is my favorite dal. Rightfully it should be called Butter dal makhani because of the heavy dose of ghee. Which reminds me of butter chicken, butter fish, etc 🙂

  2. Mad Dog says:

    You should live here – IMHO the Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi food in Britain was better 20 years ago – these days a lot of restaurants seem to be trying to make it taste like supermarket ready meals – full of sugar and coconut. The really good ones are sadly fewer and further between 🙁

    • Blah! Sounds American. It’s probably the craving for sugar created by the high fructose corn syrup that’s probably in all your food too. You’ll have to tell me which restaurants are still good when I come to London.

      • Mad Dog says:

        Something like that – generally I don’t buy things that containing sugar or corn syrup and I don’t buy ready meals. I don’t like sweet things so I have a natural aversion 😉

        • Good for you! I want to choose to eat something sweet, not have it surreptitiously added to something that normally doesn’t call for sugar. Buying ready made meals is dangerous. Next thing you know, you’re eating My Little Pony or Lassie and don’t even know it 😀

  3. I just throw mine under the broiler until the edges get darkened. Always be sure to make extra to throw on a pizza or in a pita 🙂

  4. I think a tandoor oven has the chickens hanging from the top and here’s where you can buy onehttp://www.thetandoorclayoven.co.uk/?gclid=CJX0w—zL4CFYsfwwodiXMArA. – looks a bit flashy to me, but I bet it works:)

  5. I agree with Mad Dog – curries have changed over the years here but we all have our favourite secret restaurants! Mostly though, home made is best and yours certainly looks wonderful!

  6. Very nice my friend

  7. Isabelle says:

    Looks beautiful and do-able…I will have to give your dal a go! I wanted to try the foie de veau but couldn’t find a butcher who stocked it – apparently there is no market for it here in Australia 🙁

  8. Karen says:

    I just bought chicken thighs so thanks for the inspiration.

  9. Shane Paul says:

    Thanks for the nice Tandoori recipe, I’ve got a boatload of chicken thighs and I’ve always got Greek yogurt on hand, some of the spices I’ll have to acquire, but I should have those standing by anyway. Lucky me, my grill is under a patio cover, so I’ll be trying it that way.
    Been looking for a way to incorporate more beans into my diet, the Dal Makhani looks like a tasty way to go about it.

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