Indoor Grill and Spicy Indian Chicken
So I finally broke down and bought an indoor grill. I know it seems odd to have to ‘break down’ to get an indoor grill, but to tell you the truth, I am one of those people who figures what is wrong with what I have been using. In general, and I guess it is the skeptic in me, but I have a deep sense of, ‘If I got by this long without one, why should I get it now”. Of course this is a stupid attitude, because I will get along regardless of what I have or I don’t have. I certainly shouldn’t avoid something that will make my life easier or better just because I didn’t have it before. This skepticism may have slowed me down a little I realize, but that said, at least I don’t have a house full of relatively useless products. As well, I have earned this skepticism as I got taken by the Sham-Wow product demo at a local mall several years ago. Anyone who has a sham-wow knows what I mean by taken. What I want to know is where you buy that carpet that repels pop into something as nonabsorbent as a sham-wow. Again, if you have a sham-wow, you know what I am talking about.
I figured I would just head down to the store and pick up a George Foreman Indoor Grill (I have heard great things about this grill), but to my utter dismay, they were all sold out. I ended up getting a Hamilton Beach Grill. Turns out it was a good choice for many reasons (we have babysitters 2 nights a week, and I came home a couple of weeks ago to a kraft dinner ‘soup’ and a pot being cooked for hours to a very well done state. Once I turned the gas off, cooled the pot down and poured out the Kraft dinner, I realized that I needed to come up with some things that are easier and less dangerous to cook than Kraft dinner). The Hamilton Beach grill ONLY has a timer cook setting. You just set it to 8 minutes for steak or 7 minutes for chiken. You salt and pepper the steak or chicken-I can do this in advance-put it in, set the timer and that is all. It shuts off when the timer ends-yes it shuts itself off.
A little back story here about the logic of adding an indoor grill to your fit eating toolkit. I used to be a devout charcoal barbecue person. I swore by charcoal. There was no substitute. We could even by real mesquite charcoal branches at our local store. I knew people who cooked on gas, but it just wasn’t the same. It didn’t impart the same flavors I was sure. Okay, so I didn’t barbecue as much as those people who could just go outside and flip a switch and then barbecue, but still, when I did barbecue, it was glorious. That was a long time ago. Since then I not only got a gas barbecue, but I swear by it. I would never go back to charcoal. Don’t get me wrong, I am still pretty sure it is superior in flavor, but a gas barbecue is so convenient. I probably wouldn’t have even bought this little new grill to tell you the truth, but I did because my barbecue sucks. It looks awesome. It is a stainless steel triple griller, but it is a cheap piece of crap. I have been suffering with it for a long time without complaint, and it is pretty good when I am cooking a huge meal, but in general it sucks. It sucks even worse when you are cooking a small meal, and most of my meals are pretty small.
So, had it not been for my terrible barbecue, I would never have bought an indoor grill. That would have been about as big a mistake as sticking with my charcoal grill. Why? Because non-stick grilling is such a healthy way to cook food and ends up with the food tasting great. There are so many ways to cook healthy foods on a grill, and so many varieties of meats and vegetables that can be cooked on a grill that the more times you cook on grill, the more opportunities you get to eat healthy. By making the grilling easier and more convenient, you have the opportunity to find easy meals that are healthy and get fit.
This really is one of the cornerstones of healthy eating to me:
- Go to meals that are…
- Healthy and can be made…
- Often with a small number of ingredients found in the house
are necessary if you want to be fit. Absolutely necessary. You realize that the Acronym for this spells, EGHO… Okay, my first attempt at acronym building is a little weak, but for these principles this little grill really helps out.
There was another stimulus to buying this grill by the way. I was at my favorite lunch spot having tandoori chicken with Mediterranean salad, my absolutely favorite fast food lunch. It is a fantastic lunch spot in West Vancouver that specializes in panini sandwiches: Coco Loco. This is a very healthy lunch that fits my requirements of a meal perfectly. I have been quite curious about the recipe of the tandoori chicken (because it isn’t really tandoori chicken, it is grilled chicken with a spicy indian paste on top). I found a fantastic recipe for a Spicy Grilled Indian Chicken, and included it in the book. It really is unbeatable. It is the best chicken dish I eat. I can’t recommend spicy and exotic dishes enough. If you love food like I do, it is remarkably satisfying to eat foods that make your mouth sing. As well, these are great balances for cooling vegetable salads. I had already knocked off the recipe for the Mediterranean salad and include it in the book too. It is incredible. It is probably the best big vegetable salad I know (by big vegetable I mean salad made up of big pieces of vegetables, not lettuce, although you can always add half lettuce to these salads as well).
I finally got up the nerve to ask them how they make the chicken, and the owner, who is incredibly nice, tells me they use a bottled Tandoori sauce… I was blown away, it really didn’t taste bottled at all. It is Nana’s Kitchen Tandoori BBQ Sauce. It turns out this is a Western Canadian product by the way, so I am not sure if it is available where you are. Apparently she just grills the chicken with some salt and pepper and puts some of the sauce on top. That is it. It is that simple.
My hot Indian paste takes about 10 different spices, so although it is very good, it isn’t quite simple. This bottled sauce is easy. I needed to get home and test this sauce. I checked the website and they had the sauce at my local IGA. So, after picking up the grill, I stopped by the IGA. To my desperation, they didn’t have any in stock. I will have to keep looking for it. I bought a couple of other products, Patak’s Original Tandoori Curry Paste, and Minara’s Tikka Curry Paste. The Tandoori paste tasted quite a bit like the Nana’s Kitchen paste, but is has a bit of a bottled taste that I found really bothersome. The Minara’s Tikka has a great fresh taste, but it isn’t the same as the Tandoori taste I was going for. I ended up mixing them both and they were pretty good together. There are tons of different pastes and sauces for sale at just about every grocery store, so you can just give one a try. I mixed a tablespoon of sauce with a tablespoon of non-fat plain yogurt. I find it makes the paste creamier.
In any case, the grill was ridiculously easy to use. I just put some salt and pepper on a handful of chicken breast halves, turned the timer on the grill to 12 minutes (5 minute warm up plus 7 minutes to cook the chicken), waited 5 minutes, put the chicken in the grill and voila, the chicken was tremendously juicy and tasty, actually shockingly so. Serve the Indian chicken with a salad, ideally the Mediterranean salad and enjoy. One half of a chicken breast is a perfect portion size.
I will post other recipes that work well with the griller over the next little while. Remember if you find a meal you like,
- write down the recipe on a piece of paper or print it out off the internet, and
- write the meal down in your go to list.
I know you are saying that you don’t have to, that you will remember it. I know, I say that all the time. Then I get home and I am going to cook something and I can’t find the recipe anywhere so I end up cooking something less healthy. Every thing that you do, every single thing, that makes eating healthy easier, will aid you to be fit. As well, make sure you readily have the ingredients in the house. Succeeding at being fit takes a fair bit of preparation, but ask yourself if being fit is worth spending a bit of time getting prepared. I have a pretty good idea what your answer is.