Hello, hello and hellllo! My sincere apologies to fellow Nomaste-rs for being totally insanely AWOL for the last few weeks. I really had my hands full, and every weekend I wanted to get back in the kitchen, but just couldn't due to travel and friends visiting from abroad as well as locally.
That said, I had a great time!! Choo Choo was here! Umm.. that would be my wife's true, the real OG, BFF! We had such a great time with her, and boy she can shop! She's also into healthy eating these days so there were many a conversation to be had about that. Plus I cooked as well—my Siraracha Orange Duck Tacos that came out so good! So see, I did cook not too long back!
And we also had a fantastic time in NYC when we met our other good friend from Chicago who goes by the name of DJ "Masti"! Masti in Hindi meaning Fun. He is truly one of a kind guy, along with his genuinely amazing lady friend, who we also met for the first time. Within seconds we were hit the ground running with her. So yeah, fun!
And then some birthdays and trips to New Jersey and the NYC. Phew! I've been busy!
Should you be interested, meet the people in our lives and check you all times good :)
Well those good times are now a memory. A happy one, and we're looking forward to more good ones!
And talking about good memories I have a friend who's a Bio Pharmacist-ish kinda guy! Sorry Duc, no idea what you do! But he decided to quit his job and start a little co-op cafe! A Vietnamese Coffee and Sandwich cafe at that! I was so excited about the fact that he's going to be making and selling his own Banh Mi sandwiches. He also told me how far and wide he has traveled to source the perfect baguette and has found nothing good, so he's been on a mission to make from scratch his own baguette that he'll use within 3 to 4 hours once the cafe is set up and running. Now that's dedication! And I can't wait!
In that conversation, I had an idea of a Banh Mi as well. You see, my mind is constantly spinning its wheels about food, and it was that Aha moment when I thought to myself, why not an Indian inspired Banh Mi! Why not a Tandoori Chicken Banh Mi damnit!! Why. Not?
And then I decided to add it to my list and I couldn't sleep thinking about the various iterations of it, but at the end I decided to keep it simple, but it still blows you away! The flavors are perfect! Crusty baguette, smoky grilled Tandoori Chicken, pickled veggies, Corriander Chutney and refreshing Yogurt Mint sauce!
This is unlike any other Banh Mi you've ever had! Yet this sandwich is quite simple to make, and incorporates a lot of layers for that nuanced flavor profile, that lingers.
Before we get to how to execute this, it's a good idea to understand the stages this comes to life. First we marinade the chicken overnight. Next day when it comes to room temperature, we make our pickled veg, yogurt dressing, and assemble.
Since the quality of the Banhi Mi is directly related to how fresh your baguette is, it is important to buy a good quality baguette the same day you'll be enjoying the sandwich and consume within 3 to 4 hours.
Tandoori Chicken Banh Mi with Mint and Smoked Cumin Yogurt Dressing
Ingredients for Tandoori Chicken.
2 Lbs Chicken thighs (boneless and skinless)
1/2 cup full fat Greek Yogurt
1 tbsp Ginger Garlic paste (or fresh whole Ginger and Garlic that you can crush)
2 tbsp dried Fenugreek
1 tbsp Red chili powder
1 tbsp Garam Masala
1 tbsp Corriander Powder
1 tbsp Tandoori Masala
1 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Oil
1 Lime (juiced)
Ingredients for Pickled Veg
3 medium Carrots
1 large red Onion
3-4 cloves Garlic (peeled and smashed)
2" piece of fresh Ginger (sliced thin)
8-12 Whole Peppercorns
3 tbsp Salt
3 tbsp Sugar
4 cups white Vinegar
1 cup Fresh Cilantro
2 Green Chilis
Ingredients for Yogurt Dressing
1 cup Greek Yogurt (can use fat free)
1 Lime (juiced)
Half a Cucumber (peeled and chopped finely)
1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro
1/2 cup Mint
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds (toasted till smokey and crushed to a powder)
1/2 tsp Kalonji (Onion Seed-optional)
Ingredients for garnish
3-4 Mint leaves
1/2 a Lime (juiced)
Time to make! :)
First as we planned, let's get the marinade for the Chicken ready. Trim any excess fat off the meat, and cut each thigh into halves, and make 2 diagonal slits on each piece.
In a large bowl, toss all marinade ingredients and mix well till it becomes an even mixture. Incorporate chicken and seal transfer into a container with lid. Seal, place it in the fridge for overnight.
Now the next day, bring out the Chicken to your kitchen counter to bring it to room temperature. In the meantime we can make our pickled veggies and yogurt dressing
These are so simple! For the pickled veg, slice your carrots thin at around 2 to 3 inches long. Thinly slice onion rings and peel and crush the Garlic and GInger. Make slight slits along the length of the green chilis to infuse some heat into the pickle.
Toss all of those plus all the ingredients mentioned above in to a mason jar and seal shut tight! By the way, the pickle looks gorgeous! Doesn't it?
Pre heat your oven to 375 degrees as we get ready to grill our Chicken.
For the yogurt dressing, in a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt well till its super creamy (add water if you like it a bit runny) and smooth without any lumps. Add the cuke, cumin, onion seed and salt and lim and stir well. Finally add the Mint and cilantro and incorporate. Place in fridge till use.
And now the star of the show—the Chicken. When the oven is nice and hot, place the Chicken in it and grill it for about 15 minutes on one side and broil it for another 5 minutes on the other side. Remove, cover with foil, and let it rest.
And finally the break out that baguette! Start a heavy bottom pan and cut a 6 inch section off your baguette. Slice it from the side all the way to the spine but not cutting through. Grease the inside with some oil (or butter) and butterfly it on the pan to toast. About 3 minutes. Flip and repeat.
Now that we have all our ingredients we assemble this Indo-Viet beauty!
First the Baguette, add some store bought Corriander Chutney (optional but recommended)
Now layer some yogurt dressing
Slice and add the chicken, squeeze some lime juice, and drizzle a bit more of the yogurt dressing and top off with some pickled carrots and onions, Garnish with fresh scallion and mint! And you're done!
Take a look at this bad boy. Looks amazing, doesn't it?
And there we have it! A Tandoori Chicken Banh Mi. Surprisingly Indian tasting with a personality of a French Vietnamese style assembly and preparation!
I love fusing Indian foods with other cuisines and I think I've unearthed something new with this one. The way this Banh Mi turned out, I think I'll keep this recipe in my log for a long time to come.
I hope you stay well, and are having a happy summer so far.
Warm hugs, lots of love and Nomaste.