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Tandoori Chicken and Toasted Pappadams

Tandoori Chicken and Toasted Pappadams

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6 to 6 Serves 6 to 8.
The marinade of yogurt and lime juice tenderizes and moistens the meat. Pappadams, flatbreads made from lentil flour, typically accompany Indian meals. Serve basmati rice alongside.


  • 3 lb. skinless chicken thighs or breasts, or a combination
  • 3 Tbs. lime or lemon juice

For the marinade:

  • 1 Tbs. coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 piece fresh ginger, about 1 inch, peeled
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. water
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbs. lime juice
  • 8 pappadam wafers
  • 3 Tbs. ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small English (hothouse) cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh mint
  • 2 limes, cut lengthwise into wedges


Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels. Make deep diagonal slashes almost to the bone at 1 1/2-inch intervals across the meaty side of each piece. Place in a glass bowl and rub both sides with the lime juice. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the marinade: In a small, dry fry pan over low heat, toast the coriander and cumin seeds, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and grind to a powder, or transfer to a mortar and grind to a powder with a pestle. In a blender, combine the garlic, ginger, salt and enough water to facilitate blending. Process until a smooth paste forms. Add the cumin and coriander seeds, paprika, turmeric, cayenne, yogurt and lime juice and puree until smooth. Pour into a large lock-top plastic bag, add the chicken pieces, seal and turn the bag to coat the pieces evenly. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or for as long as overnight.

Preheat a broiler. Bring the chicken to room temperature.

Place a cake rack over a gas or electric burner. Working with 1 pappadam at a time, place on the rack over medium-high heat. Using tongs, rotate continuously until completely opaque and covered with tiny bubbles and brown flecks, about 30 seconds more. Turn and toast on the other side until crisp, about 30 seconds more.

Place the chicken, slashed sides up, on a broiler pan and brush with the ghee. Broil 2 to 3 inches from the heat source until browned, about 20 minutes. Turn, brush with ghee, and grill until browned on the other side, about 10 minutes more.

Transfer to a serving platter and top evenly with the onion and cucumber slices. Sprinkle with the cilantro and mint, garnish with the lime wedges and serve with the pappadams.
Serves 6 to 8.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Asian Flavors, by Joyce Jue (Time-Life Books, 1999).