Sheet Pan Chicken Tikka

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I don’t know how someone who has an art degree and lives in a tiny New York city apartment consistently churns out such delicious recipes (I was expecting a Chef! Or a suburban housewife, maybe), but Deb from Smitten Kitchen has nailed it again with this easy one-pan dinner.

Farmer Rob declared FOUR times during the meal that it was absolutely delicious. I’ve since made it again for our family, and they unanimously also declared it a winner. Even with leaving the seeds in the the jalapeno it’s not overly spicy as the yogurt tames the heat. Don’t skip on the cumin seeds for the veggies, they add the extra Indian flavour you’re looking for.  

Now, as for the condiments. I love serving this dish with pickled onions and Raita, a creamy herb-filled sauce. If you’re looking to get dinner on the table quickly, you can opt for a store-bought version of either of these – Raita is comparable to Tzaziki, so you can even use that if it’s in your fridge already.

That being said, the homemade versions of these are simple enough, so if you’ve got some time, go for it! You’ll love the satisfaction of making something so tasty from scratch. If you’re going to make them, start with the pickled onions so that they have time to sit and soak in their flavours before you get started on the chicken.

Ingredients

For the chicken

2 inch piece of ginger, peeled
(I always store my ginger in the freezer and peel it by scraping a paring knife over it)

4 cloves of garlic

1 fresh jalapeno, leave seeds in for a bit more heat

½ cup whole-milk plain yogurt

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon chili powder or cayenne, or adjusted to taste (I used cayenne)

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

½ teaspoon ground cumin

¾ teaspoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon of one of the following (I’ve listed it in order of my own preference, Monsoon Coast is my favourite):

  • Tandoori
  • Garam Masala
  • Moghul Curry 

For the Vegetables:

3 tablespoons olive oil

¼ pounds (about 4 medium) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled if desired, cut into 1 inch chunks

¾ pounds (1 small or half a very large head) cauliflower, cut into 1-inch-wide florets

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

Pickled Onions (optional)

2 large red onions

1 cup sugar

1 cup red wine vinegar

A sprinkle or two Salt and Pepper

Raita (optional)

1 cup plain yogurt

½ grated English hothouse cucumber, or 2 small Persian hothouse cucumbers

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped green onions (or finely grate a ¼ red onion)

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon ground cumin

Method

Combine ginger, garlic, fresh jalapeno, yogurt, salt, spices and sugar in bowl of food processor, chop until blended.  Alternatively, finely mince garlic, ginger and jalapeno and mix with rest of ingredients in bowl.  Place mixture in a freezer bag, bowl or container, add chicken pieces and toss to coat evenly. Let marinate for 15 minutes or up to a day in the fridge.  BONUS-our deli team already puts the chicken in a plastic bag for you so all you have to do is pour the yogurt mixture over the chicken in the bag and smoosh it around so the marinade is evenly distributed.  As our bags aren’t as sturdy as a freezer bag, place the bag in a bowl just in case it leaks.  

When you’re ready to cook the dish, heat your oven to 425°F. Line a half-sheet (13×18-inch) with foil and coat it with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add potatoes, cauliflower, salt, cumin and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and toss together with you hands until evenly coated.

Remove chicken from marinade and leave excess behind. Make spaces in the vegetables for chicken parts throughout the pan. Roast in oven for 20 minutes, then toss the potato and cauliflower to ensure they’re cooking evenly, and return the pan to the oven for 20 minutes more (40 minutes total roasting time), until chicken and vegetables are cooked through.

When chicken and vegetables are cooked, top with garnishes of your choice — we used cilantro and scattered pickled red onions rings all over. Serve right in the pan accompanied by Raita and warmed naan bread. You could also use purchased tzatziki, just add the cumin and coriander to it as you see in the recipe.  

Pickled Onions

Slice the onions as thinly as possible. You may find it useful to first slice them in half and lay them on their cut side before slicing them further. Cram the sliced onions into a large mason jar.

Pour the sugar and vinegar into a small pot and bring to a boil with the salt and pepper. Pour the hot syrup over the onions; cover them and if time allows, let rest overnight in the refrigerator before use.

Because sugar and vinegar are such great preservatives, these pickled onions will last indefinitely in your refrigerator. They’re at their best after a day or two in your fridge, once their flavours have had a chance to mature.

 

Raita

Using your hands and over a bowl or sink, squeeze as much water as you can out of the cucumber.  Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Season to taste with salt. Chill raita, covered, until ready to serve.