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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tandoori Game Hens with Yam Sabzi

I feel as though I have emerged from a coma filled with plenty of ideas for Fusion...
Cornish game hens, or Coquelets are not actually hens, but very young chickens not yet reached puberty.  Aww the poor things! But if I were a chicken, I would rather be slaughtered before puberty than live my short life as a castrate, so these youngins actually have a sweet life.  Short, but sweet.
So after rubbing my game hens with oil ans tandoori spices, I roasted them whole.  Whole chicks would be such a great idea to cook hanging in a tandoor, but at this point in my life, I do not have one, so my oven will do the trick.
The side to this little preparation is Yam cooked with fried whole spices.  Yam is such a fun vegetable.  I live its natural sweetness and the way it can be the star of the show or enhance the meat it is served with.  Does candied yams ans roast turkey ring a bell?  Well here, it's the same concept, but Indian favorite style..
Serves 4
Tandoori Game Hens:
2 game hens or coquelets
2 1/2 Tbsp tandoori spice
2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
1 large onion, sliced thickly
1/2 lemon juice

Yam Sabzi:
1 large yam, peeled and cubed
2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 handful dried curry leaves
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp amchur (mango powder)
salt to taste

Yogurt Sauce:
1 plain yogurt
juice from 1/2 lemon
handful chopped mint
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp sugar
few cracks black pepper
1.  Prepare the young chickens by making a rub out of the oil, tandoori spice, salt, and lemon juice.  Massage the birds well, making sure to get that good stuff into each nook and cranny.  I didn't marinate, but I suppose an overnight marination would better infuse the flavors.
2.  In a baking dish, lay the sliced onions and place the birds breast side down.  Bake at 190°C for 1 hour, then flip over and bake at 210°C for 30 minutes.  Don't forget to baste.
Mmm perfect!
3.  During those last 30 minutes, make the yam sabzi.  Heat the oil in a wok and add the cumin and mustard seeds until they crackle.
4.  Add the curry leaves, chili powder, and turmeric.  It should fizz.  Then add the yam, stir to coat evenly, then cover and cook on low until tender.. about 15 minutes.
5.  Add the garam masala and amchur and mix.  Taste and add salt if needed.
6.  Make the yogurt sauce.  Mix all the ingredients together.

Serve 1/2 game hen per person with some yam and yogurt sauce.  I added some batavia leaves with some cherry tomatoes for garnish and freshness.
Don't forget to eat with your hands and lick all the wonderful flavors off your fingers.

These young adolescent birds worked perfectly in tandoori spice, just as I had imagined.  The flesh is delicate and infuses easily.
Good boys..

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