Oven-roasted Tandoori chicken wings

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I always love to gorge on and relish those good ‘ol tangy and tasty Buffalo wings, anytime and anywhere, given a chance. Invariably, get my fingers all messy, digging deep in the tangy, irresistible sauce, trying to devour every morsel of meat on those delicate bones. Oh dear, I’m salivating thinking about them….so let’s leave it right there and get down to what I have been cooking in my kitchen for dinner.

Surprisingly, I’ve never attempted at making wings at home. That’s because I’ve always used the more hearty and popular cuts of the bird, especially when it comes to making Indian curries and dishes, or for that matter even roasts, soups and stews. But, having made the entry once into my kitchen and thereafter onto my dining table, these wings are definitely going to come back again and again :-). To begin with they are the easiest and quickest to make, not to leave out, how tasty and juicy they are in spite of their diminutive size. One can improvise with different, spices, marinades and flavours each time. They are also quite inexpensive, on sale practically every time I lay my eyes on them at our local supermarket. Most importantly, my recipe involves plain ol roasting, none of the ‘deep fried’ or ‘dollops’ of butter, especially used when it comes to wings 😉

In my recipe, I have incorporated traditional spices and flavours, quite similar to what goes into a tandoori dish. I’ve omitted a marinade rich in yoghurt, I don’t think the wings really need a heavy marinade. Just delicate marination with rich flavours of spices from my handy ‘masaldaani’ or spice box, which I use on a daily basis for all my Indian  cooking (I’ve had it for 14 odd years, a gift from my mom!).

Remnants of my visit to the farmer’s market last week, none other than the fresh produce and greens, also compliment the meal tonight :

To accompany the wings, nothing more refreshing than a crisp green and nutritious salad with arugula, tomatoes, red onions and beets. My trick for the simple vinaigrette, is a base of some fresh juice I make regularly for myself (ABCG juice, namely apple, blueberry, carrot and grapefruit juice!). I think, any fruit or fresh citrus component added in a vinaigrette takes any salad to a whole new level.

Lastly, a freshly made pesto with verdant greens like fresh basil, Italian parsley and mild shishito peppers. Simply as a dip for the wings. Or use it also as a dressing for the salad! There’s nothing more versatile and delicious than a pesto, it can be slathered onto anything 🙂

Servings 4

Ingredients for the tandoori wings :

Chicken wings, with skin on – 1 lb, approximately 10 wings

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For the spices, I usually eyeball them, no exact measurements, but here are some approximate measurements for the marinade, to make it simpler :

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Coriander powder – 1 tbsp.

Roasted cumin powder – 1 tsp.

Kashmiri red chili powder( it’s mild, added to add a deep red color) or paprika – 1 tbsp.

Garam masala powder – 1 tbsp.

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It is a mix of cardamoms, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, peppercorns, mace, ground together to a powder. Easily available in stores too.

Crushed kasoori methi(dried fenugreek leaves), optional – 1 tsp.

Turmeric – 1/2 tsp.

Grated fresh garlic – 1 tsp.

Grated fresh ginger – 1 tsp.

Freshly squeezed lemon juice – 2 tbsp.

Butter – 1 tbsp.

Maple syrup or honey – 1 tsp.

Olive oil – 1 tbsp.

Mix all the spices and ingredients listed to make the marinade. Pat the chicken wings dry, there should be no moisture on them, so they develop a nice crispy skin after being roasted in the oven. Slather the marinade on the wings, and let it marinate for 2 hours.

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Preheat the oven at 400 F. Pop the wings in the oven for about 30 mins, till tender and a nice brown crust develops.

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Let the chicken rest for a few minutes, before serving.

For the salad :

Fresh organic arugula – 3 cups

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1 medium size beetroot – I cook it in a pressure cooker, 1 whistle on high and let cook on low for 10 mins. Alternatively, wrap in foil and roast it in the oven at 400 F, for 45 mins to an hour, till tender. When cool, remove skin, and dice.

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1 small red tomato or an heirloom tomato, diced

1/2 cup finely sliced red onions

For the vinaigrette, whisk together 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp. fresh fruit juice (as I mentioned in my note above), salt and pepper to taste.

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Combine all ingredients for the salad in a salad bowl or platter.

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Pour the vinaigrette just before serving the salad.

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For the pesto :

In a small food processor, blend together a cup each of fresh Italian parsley, fresh basil, a garlic clove and a couple of shishito peppers, along with extra virgin olive oil. Add enough oil to blend to a smooth consistency. Add a dash of lemon juice and salt to taste.

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