Tandoori Cornish Hen: Dinner For 2
Thanksgiving Dinner is always associated with roasting turkey. As Thanksgiving time is nearing my local Walmart's frozen meat section is getting piled up with these big birds. These birds, each of them weighing something around 20 lbs or more are really very huge. Yeah, I know if you are throwing a huge party, these are really a hit but what about those people who want to spend the Thanksgiving dinner in a private way? Something that me and my dear husband are planning to do this year. Roasting this big bird for two of us will simply be a wastage of time, effort and food. Forget turkey, look forward to a juicer and cuter substitute: the Cornish Hen.
Cornish Hens are cute, they are quite small, they are juicy (each of them weighing something around 1 lb), they taste awesome and on top of that they are just perfect for a thanksgiving dinner for 2! And what if you are bored with your normal roasting and trying something different with your Cornish Hen this year? Why not plan to make a tandoori style roast? That will be a terrific thought I can vouch for that.
One good thing about these Cornish Hens is that compared to Turkey they need less time for marination as well as less time for roasting. Overall it is a fast, no-hassle cooking for two who are planning on spending more quality time together than in the kitchen.
Tandoori Cornish Hens are very delicious to look at. They have a natural orange hue on their body which is the result of the different types of spices that are used in marinating the hen. Like any other roasted chicken recipe, marination plays an important part in making this Tandoori Cornish Hen. Care has to be taken while preparing this marinade. A slight mistake can lead on to a bad result!
Tandoori Cornish Hens will have a bit of charred skin. Do not have a panic attack for that. That is the beauty of tandoori style cooking. In original tandoor style cooking, a cylindrical clay oven is used that is immensely heated up by charcoal or wood (around 600°F), exposing the food to live-fire, thus giving the food a burnt look with a mouth-watering smokey flavor and seared-in juices. It is quite similar to our modern day charcoal-grill. The only difference is that later is an open air cooking, whereas tandoors behave more like a convection oven thus giving the meat less chance to dry out.
I live in a pretty small apartment, having my own personal tandoor or even a charcoal grill is out of question here. So that does not deter me from making a tandoori dish. I make this impossible possible in my own oven with a little bit of twist and turn. How? You will get to know my secret here.
- 1 Cornish Hen (around 1 lb)
- 1 small cup Plain Greek Yogurt
- 2 teaspoons Chili Powder
- 1and1/2 teaspoon Lime Juice
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Paste
- 1 teaspoon Ginger Paste
- 1 teaspoon Chicken Masala Powder
- 1 teaspoon Cumin Powder
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- According to taste Salt
- 2 tablespoons Oil
I Used This Chicken Masala Powder
You Can Also Try Out This Readymade Tandoori Masala Powder
- This part is important. First defrost the Cornish Hen. This will take time. I think quick defrost like submerging the Hen in very hot water can actually harden the meat and increases chances of bacteria build-up. Please do not do that unless you want to affect the meat quality. Rather place your Hen from freezer to normal refrigerator. It will automatically thaw within 12 hours.
- Once completely thawed, peel out the outer plastic cover. Place the Hen under running water. Clean it properly. Remove neck and giblets (if any). Pat it dry with a tissue paper or a cloth. Make deep incisions on the body. These incisions will help to absorb the marinade faster into the body.
- Take a plastic container and marinate the Hen with yogurt, chili powder and lime juice. Use both hands to cover the Hen well with the marinade.
- Now it is time to prepare the tandoori masala. Heat oil in a pan. When the oil is hot enough, add ginger paste and garlic paste (one after another). Fry the paste well. When the paste starts to brown, add cumin powder, chili powder, chicken masala powder, salt and sugar. Fry further until the oil starts separating from the paste.
- Now marinate the Hen with this paste. Again use both hands to cover up the Hen with the marinade. Put some marinade inside the cavity of the bird. Seal the container and let it marinate in refrigerator for about 12 hours.
- Once you are ready to roast, preheat the oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit. Take out your Cornish Hen from refrigerator. Take a baking tray, put an aluminum foil inside it so that it does not get dirty later(I know it's hard to wash off the stains from the baking trays). Place a wire rack on top of it. Shake off the extra marinade and place the Cornish Hen on top of it. Put the tray inside middle rack of the oven.
- Roast the Hen for first 30 minutes on 400 degree Fahrenheit. Next bring out the Hen and carefully flip it and roast the other side for another 30 minutes at 400 degree Fahrenheit. By this time the juices will start coming out of the Hen.
- Now it is time for broiling. Bring out the tray. Place your oven on broil mode and put the tray back now on the upper rack of the oven. Broil for about 2 minutes. You will get to see the skin is getting charred. After say, about 2 minutes, bring out the tray and again flip the Hen and broil this side for another 2 minutes.
- Your Tandoori Cornish Hen is ready. Squeeze half of a lime on it. Place an aluminum foil and cover the Cornish Hen for about 5 to 7 minutes. This will help the Hen to retain its flavors. Next, it is time to carve the Hen and serve. Serve hot with naan or jeera rice and enjoy your special Thanksgiving dinner, the tandoori way.
What will best compliment the Tandoori Cornish Hen?
|Serving size: 1|
|Calories from Fat||216|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 24 g||37%|
|Carbohydrates 9 g||3%|
|Sugar 5 g|
|Fiber 1 g||4%|
|Protein 32 g||64%|
|Cholesterol 302 mg||101%|
|Sodium 168 mg||7%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
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So feast this Thanksgiving Dinner on this succulent Tandoori Cornish Hen and remember me. Happy Thanksgiving in Advance and Happy Eating!