If you are new to Indian cooking, the ingredients list may look a little unreasonable, but I promise it’ll make it up to you on flavor, and you can always 3-4x the spice blend to keep on hand for next time! Plus, these spices will hold you in good stead for a year’s worth of delicious, flavorful meals! The logic of a tandoori masala is to create a spice blend that builds on the grill’s smokiness and that's what the wide range of spices do.
A note on the spices: wherever possible, buy whole spices and grind them fresh; you can find them on the Diaspora Co. site: www.diasporaco.com. I use a simple electrical coffee grinder and it does a wonderful job.
Grind your whole spices (cumin, coriander, black cardamom, green cardamom, fenugreek and saffron) together until fine.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the freshly powdered spices with the rest of the spices (turmeric, chillies, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, salt and sugar) and make sure there are no clumps or large pieces. Add the yogurt and use a spatula to fold together. It should become a pale yellow color that will darken overnight as the turmeric and saffron infuse into the yogurt.
Add cut chicken pieces to spiced yogurt marinade and fold with spatula to make sure that each piece of chicken is luxuriating in its spicy yogurt jacuzzi. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate overnight in the fridge (an hour will do in a pinch but YOU REALLY WANT TO DO OVERNIGHT!)
Turn on the grill and light your High Heat Briq. Allow to preheat to a minimum temperature of 750°F. Grease your grill grates with a high-heat cooking oil to avoid sticking.
Meanwhile, grease your skewers and push the pieces of chicken onto the skewers. I usually do 6-8 pieces per skewer, not packing them too closely together. You can leave a good amount of the yogurt marinade on the chicken, as this will keep the meat nice and juicy on the inside, and get you that beautiful char on the outside! 1lb of meat gives me approx. 6 skewers, so scale the recipe up or down depending on how many folks you’re trying to feed!
Place the skewers onto the ripping hot grill and set your timer for 5 minutes, They’ll need approx. 5 mins on one side and 5 mins on the other. Don’t fuss with or open the grill too many times while they’re cooking, because you’ll lose heat everytime. Leave them be and let them do their thing!
P.S. It doesn’t hurt to double (or triple) this recipe and do a few batches whilst the Briq is still hot, to be honest! The kebabs might lose their crunch, but the flavors keep quite well and make wonderful leftovers with some rice and lentils the next day.