oven-roasted tandoori chicken drumsticks with cilantro-red onion relish

DSC_0368Date night! Home-cooked dinner with Danny Collins, a feel-good movie.

Yesterday Andy rebelled against yet another vegetarian meal, when I made the zucchini-ricotta fritters. So to make it up to him,  I made chicken for tonight’s dinner. I found this recipe on the Food and Wine website and halved it, because it served four. We ate these chicken drumsticks with sesame rice salad. The drumsticks were indeed a treat because I left the skin on. They came out tender and juicy, spicy without the heat. Plus the skin was crispy and slightly charred around the edges, just the way I like it.

Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks with Cilantro-Red Onion Relish (adapted from Food and Wine)
Prep time: 30 minutes
Grilling time: 40 minutes
Servings: 2

1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika
1/2 tablespoon garam masala
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander (I didn’t have this so I increased the cumin slightly)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric (original)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated fine (original)
4 cloves garlic, minced (original)
1/4 cup Greek-style yogurt (original)
Juice of 1/2 a medium lime
1/4 cup plus 4 tablespoons rice bran oil, divided (original; Substitute: canola oil)
Salt and pepper
6 chicken drumsticks with the skin on

1/3 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped (3/4 cup in the original)
1/2 medium red onion, minced (Substitute: 1 medium shallot)
3 tablespoons white vinegar

Pre-heat the oven to 450˚F/230˚C. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray for easy clean up.

Pat dry the chicken drumsticks with paper towels and set them aside. Some recipes state that this makes the chicken skin crisp up.

In a 10 inch skillet combine the ground spices, and heat them, until they release their fragrance, about 1-2 minutes. Scrape the spices in a medium bowl to cool slightly. Add the ginger, garlic, yogurt, lime juice, and 2 tablespoons oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make 2-3 slashes in the thickest part of the chicken. Put the chicken in a large bowl with 2 more tablespoons of oil, and toss to coat thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. Scrape the yogurt spice mixture onto the chicken and toss to coat thoroughly.

Roast 40 minutes or until the drumsticks reach an internal temperature of 160˚F. Turn the chicken once after 20 minutes. Check after 35 minutes. If the chicken doesn’t show signs of charring, put them under the broiler for about 5 minutes. I skipped this step because the drumsticks showed signs of charring after 40 minutes.

Make the relish. In a small bowl combine the chopped cilantro, red onion, vinegar and 1/4 cup of oil.

I recommend doubling the ginger and garlic and use a whole lime when doubling this recipe for 12 drumsticks. I like ginger and garlic together.

DSC_0370The sesame rice salad pictured here is a variation on a rice salad recipe I found in a South Beach Diet cookbook. I used red and brown rice here, but brown rice is recommended in the original recipe. I used sugar snap peas and green peas, but your favorite combination of two vegetables will do. I added a tablespoon of minced Chinese celery stalks for flavor. The dressing is easy: 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Whisk with a fork and pour over the rice. Add vegetables and toss.

Maple-Almond Flan

I made a New Year’s resolution to diet and eat healthy, so I have taken up the South Beach Diet. I downloaded two books onto my Kindle for Mac, South Beach Diet for Beginners and South Beach Diet Supercharged. Phase One, which lasts two weeks, is very strict about carbs, sugar, and fat. But it’s not all serious. I find the recipes fun to make and delicious too. Desserts are allowed in Phase One so that no one should feel deprived. Instead of going through the menu, I’ll just skip ahead to the dessert!

This flan recipe comes from the Supercharged book. It needs a water bath (bain marie) to set the custard. However, there were some problems with this recipe.  It did not state the oven temperature needed to set the custard. I guessed a moderate oven, 350˚F, would do. I also found that the custard set in 50 minutes rather than in 25 minutes at ? temperature. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t have a roasting pan big enough to give the custard room to set. Instead, I used a 9 inch square glass baking dish. Though it took a while, the result is delicious and well worth it!

Ingredients for the flan:
1 tin (12 oz) fat free evaporated milk
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons nonfat milk
1/2 cup egg substitute (2 large eggs)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar substitute

Ingredients for flan topping:
3 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted (I used sliced almonds–it’s a preference!)
4 tablespoons sugar free maple syrup

Prepare the ingredients. Preheat oven to 350˚F. In a saucepan, combine evaporated milk and nonfat milk. In a small bowl, combine egg, vanilla, almond extract, and sugar substitute. Add to milk mixture. Heat until the milk is scalded; that is, little bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Do not boil. Ladle the milk-egg mixture into 4 ramekins. My teeny tiny kitchen didn’t have ramekins so I used ceramic coffee cups.

Bake the flan. Place ramekins (or coffee cups)  in a roasting pan and fill with hot water until the level of water comes half-way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake in the preheated oven 50 minutes or until the tops turn golden brown. Remove from the water bath and cool slightly. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Serve. Toast the slivered/slice almonds in an ungreased skillet. You can also do it in a slow (275˚F) oven. To serve, drizzle a tablespoon of the maple syrup over the top of the flan then sprinkle the almonds on top. It’s so-oo good! You don’t feel you are on a diet.

Cake Baker’s Note: I used whole eggs to make this dessert, otherwise the calories per serving would have been 108.