Tandoori Cornish Hens

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Tandoori Cornish Hens

I love tandoori chicken so much and there are so many recipes out there for the spice blends for it, I never tire of trying new ones!  This one is my latest experiment.  It was a recipe I found in a magazine a long time ago and finally got around to making it, with a couple of modifications.  If you bake this recipe in your oven, rather than grilling over charcoal, I like to put some sliced onions in the bottom of the pan with some olive oil the last half hour of baking and deglazed the pan brown bits with some water over stovetop burner on low for a nice sauce.    This can also be done with regular cut-up chicken pieces or just wings (which will cook much faster!).  This recipe is not Induction friendly if you use yogurt.  Using sour cream, you could probably have this on Induction since much of it doesn’t get consumed.  To be more traditional, if your way of eating allows it, add 2-3 drops of food coloring to the marinate, for the traditional red hue in the picture.  This is not necessary for the flavor to be spot on, however.

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2 Cornish hens (about 1¼ lb. each) or 8 cut pieces of chicken

½ tsp. cayenne pepper

1/8 tsp. salt (optional but included in stats below)

Pinch black pepper

1 T. fresh lime juice

½ c. sour cream or plain yogurt

1 large clove minced garlic

1 tsp. minced fresh ginger

¼ medium onion, chopped

½ tsp. cumin seed (or ¼ tsp. ground)

½ tsp. ground turmeric


Split the Cornish hens into halves or cut up 4 of your desired whole chicken pieces.  You can skin the chicken if you like, but I never do.  I LIKE the skin!  Poke holes randomly in the skin, piercing through into the flesh as well.  Mix salt, pepper and cayenne with lime juice and rub onto the pieces of meat.   Set aside while you do the next step.

In a blender or food processor, puree the yogurt, garlic, ginger, onion,  and remaining spices.  Add optional 2-3 drops red food coloring if not Primal-Paleo. Spoon into gallon ziploc bag and add chicken to the bag.  Zip bag and mix to coat meat pieces by manipulating with your hands.  Refrigerate for 6-8 hours, manipulating occasionally during this period.

Tandoori Chicken, in India, is cooked in a Tandoori clay oven, which I certainly do not have.  However a medium-hot charcoal fire will do nicely.  But if neither is available, preheat your indoor oven to 400º.  Place hen quarters skin up onto grill surface or on a rack in a roasting pan.  Brush or spoon the yogurt marinate evenly over the pieces of meat.  Depending on your charcoal fire, distance from coals to meat, or your oven accuracy, size of birds…….these hens will take about 45 minutes to an hour to get done.  Test the thigh joints for doneness.  Juices should be clear and not pink at all.  Or insert meat thermometer into thigh and breast and it is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 180º.

NUTRITIONAL INFO: Serves 4, each serving contains:

381 calories

23.4 g  fat

9.2 g  carbs

.4 g  fiber

8.8 g  NET CARBS

31.83 g  protein

377 mg  sodium

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