By Texas Bellend
Tandoori Beer Chicken
With Brown Wild Rice, Zucchini, and Tzatziki Sauce
In my travels of camping and road side cooking, I love to deliver the shock and awe of a great meal that is simple, cheap, and very satisfying. I love to cook for a village but you can scale this up or down as you need to. This recipe of Tandoori Chicken is traditional with Indian Cuisine with a flare of meat tenderizing benefits of beer. Whatever beer you like! I prefer a beer that has a very rich flavor like Guinness or a dark beer. There are many levels of tastes and textures in this dish that evoke curiosity and satisfaction of a great meal. When I cook this meal for my friends on the road they usually are amazed because the outcome seems difficult, but it is not. With most of the prep at home ready for the campsite and a little know how you too can share this astounding meal that feeds a lot. On a side note about the specifics of bone in chicken meat. All meat is better bone in!
There are a very few things I will cheat on when it comes to cooking food. I buy the boxed brown wild rice mix and prep it ahead of time at home. I reheat the rice in a pot over the fire after the chicken is done and resting. This is also a great time to grill your Zucchini. We will get into other from scratch rice recipes in the future, but for now a box version is what I will show here. The Zucchini is simply lightly coated with olive oil and grilled till tender but not cooked to death.
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My preparation at home is made for easy cooking at the camp fire. I put my chicken and marinade in a freezer bag and freeze it. I store my rice in a plastic zip bag and freeze it too. The Tzatziki Sauce is stored in a plastic container and refrigerated. All this is kept cold in a cooler or a saddlebag while you travel. This marinade is excellent on any meat for slow roasting on a fire or grilling.
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Please email me with your questions, ideas, and stories of your Saddlebag cooking journey.
2 Chicken Breast (bone in with skin)
2 Chicken Thighs (bone in with skin)
1 Cup Plane Greek Yogurt
1 Large Lemon (zest and juice)
4 Cloves Garlic (finely minced)
3 Tsp of Fresh Ginger (finely minced)
1 Tsp Turmeric
1 Tsp Coriander Powder
1 Tsp Paprika
1 Tsp Gram Masala
½ Cup of Beer (Optional but very good)
2 Tsp Kosher Salt
1 Tsp Pepper
Ingredients for Tzatziki Sauce
1 Cup of Plane Greek Yogurt
2 Cloves of Garlic (finely minced)
1 pinch of Kosher Salt
2 or 3 dashes of Cayenne Pepper
1 Cup of Cucumber (graded)
1 TBS of Fresh Mint (finely chopped)
2 Tsp of Fresh Dill (finely chopped)
Score the chicken in a diamond pattern and set aside in a plastic container or freezer bag. In a bowl mix the Greek yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin, paprika, gram masala, beer salt and pepper together. Pour this marinade over the chicken. Chicken should marinade for a minimum of 8 hour and preferred overnight.
Tzatziki Sauce (Tah ziki)
Combine in a bowl Greek yogurt, garlic, lemon, salt, cayenne pepper, mint, and dill and set aside. Let’s talk about the cucumbers for a minute. There are many varieties of cucumbers in this world and in this case… size does matter. Ladies we will for ONCE want to use the smaller variety like English or Pakistan…..of cucumbers. The cucumber you will want to use in this sauce are ones you want on a salad or eat by themselves. Here I am using the Pakistan cucumber. Cucumbers with the larger seeds in the center will need to have the seeds removed. Grate the cucumber and place in a separate bowl with a pinch of salt. Let the grated cucumber rest for about 20 min. This process of the salt removing the water from the cucumber is called maceration. Here you can see how much liquid has come from the grated cucumber. Drain and press out the cucumber water and mix the macerated cucumber with the Tzatziki sauce. Place in a covered container and let the sauce marry overnight. I will have to say this sauce is good on just about anything! Well…pretty much everything…..
Cooking the Chicken
Make sure when building your fire that you have a cooler side to your grill. You may need to move the chicken to the cooler side if flare ups are too intense. The chicken fat tends to flare up the fire that can burn your chicken which can taste bitter.
Start your chicken skin side down over a medium coals for about 5 minutes. Turn and adjust your chicken depending on the fire. What you want is a low and slow cooking process. Depending on the thickness of your chicken will depend on the time cooking on the fire. Mine took about 30 to 40 min to cook. If you really want to get technical, the internal temperature at the thickest part of the meat should be about 155 to 160 degrees Celsius. You will want a char and caramelization on the meat but not an overall burn. The meat should be juicy and firm.
Take your chicken off the fire and place it in a covered container or wrap in aluminum foil to rest for about 5 minutes. The residual heat during the rest will finish the internal temperature to 160 to 165. This step is very important to allow the juice to go back into the meat.
I am showing the final version of this lovely dish as a leftover reheated with some fresh zucchini. Add the Zucchini at the end after rice and chicken is done. Turn the heat on low and let it steam. Drizzle over the Tzatziki Sauce. Enjoy my friends!
Please email me with your ideas, questions, and stories of your Saddlebag Cooking journey.
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