Yogurt is a common tenderizer in Indian kitchens. "Drain the yogurt through cheesecloth placed in a colander," advises Sudhir Seth. "The thicker yogurt that remains has less moisture and helps make a better marinade." Whole-milk yogurt may be substituted if you want to skip the cheesecloth step.
- 2 medium cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger root
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or chili powder
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, ground
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons dried fenugreek leaves (optional; available in international sections of some grocery stores and at Indian specialty markets)
- Pinch paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, cubed
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
Soak bamboo skewers in water for a few hours or until completely moistened.
In a small bowl, mix the garlic and ginger to form a paste. In a medium bowl, combine the ginger-garlic paste, cayenne pepper or chili powder, pine nuts, lemon juice, dried fengreek leaves if desired, paprika and salt. Mix well. Add the chicken cubes, stir to coat, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Add the yogurt and mix again. Refrigerate for at least another 30 minutes and up to 8 hours.
When ready to cook the kebabs, prepare the grill. If using a gas grill, preheat the grill on medium. If using a charcoal grill, start the charcoal or wood briquettes. When the briquettes are ready, distribute the heated charcoal evenly under the cooking area for direct heat.
Clean the grate with a grill brush.
Thread the coated chicken cubes onto the skewers. Grill for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and its juices run clear.
Adapted from chef Sudhir Seth.
Tested by Yuki Noguchi.
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