Monday, February 2, 2015

Tandoori Chicken, for the calorie-conscious

Hell isn't merely paved with good intentions; it's walled and roofed with them. Yes, and furnished too. – Aldous Huxley

I had made myself (and you) a promise in the new year. I was going to post more often. I guess I am on my way to hell, unless I soon rectify it. 

I suppose, if I do have an excuse it would be that I have been on an extremely low-calorie diet. I’ve been experimenting a bit more than usual with trying to get maximum flavour into minimum food, sometimes with spectacular failure. 
The mixed marinade.

So there’s been recipes that were either uninspired or not fit to ever make again – let alone post. Hooray for memorably bad meals!! Not.

But every once in a while you dig up a gem. And if you're lucky you only have to swap out one ingredient. Like full fat for low fat yogurt. 

Chicken is the dieters friend once the skin and fat are removed, unlike beef and even pork. I’m learning, slowly, how to "low-cal interpret" the things I eat. I’m not starving, but I do watch my in-take, and evening snacks are definitely (definitely) O-U-T.

Seal and let the chicken marinate for
one day. There's enough marinade for
four breasts, if you would like.
Here's a little diet factoid for you. Two teaspoons of butter (70 cal) have fewer calories than grape seed oil (80 cal) and about the same number as olive oil (65 cal). 

So don't feel you have to ditch butter on a low calorie diet. Just everything in moderation. Oscar Wilde added "including moderation." I tend to concur.

For your edification, I have broken out the calories per ingredient in this dish. Knock on wood, but I have had success since starting my calorie death watch about a month ago. I have dropped slightly over 8 pounds. No time to quit now. 10-15 more to go!

The size of your chicken breast will determine the end calorie count. Eat a monster and you get monster calories... makes sense, right?

The accompaniment for this dish is a Raita, made with yogurt-marinated onion, tomato, cucumber, and cumin. Very fresh and delcious against the spiciness of the chicken. Keep in mind, you're not consuming all of the marinade, probably 1/4 of it per chicken breast.

And, just so you know, I have about 4 more recipes lined up. So heaven’s getting closer all the time.

Tandoori Chicken
Prep: overnight  |  Bake: 20 min  |  Serves 2
2 medium chicken breasts, skinless and boneless 6oz = 300 cal
1/2 cup low-fat greek style yogurt 125 cal
2 tbsp lemon juice 8 cal
1 tsp ground garlic 5 cal
1 tsp ground ginger 2 cal
1 tsp ground cumin 8 cal
1/2 tsp ground cardamom 3 cal
1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper 3-6 cal
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper 8 cal
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 1.5 cal
6-8 drops each, red and yellow food colouring (optional, but a good addition)

Mix all the ingredients of the marinade in an electric blender or a food processor and process until thoroughly puréed. Pour the marinade over chicken, toss and rub, to coat thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place chicken in a single layer on foil. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes, turning once and basting with marinade juices  until cooked.

For a low calorie accompaniment for 2, serve Raita: mix 1/2 a sliced field cucumber, 1 sliced medium onion, and 1 diced plum tomato with 1/2 cup yogurt and 1 tsp cumin seed. Let sit for 1 hour, or overnight in the refrigerator, before serving.


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  1. this looks good even if not on a diet! i guess you aren't eating my naan with this?

  2. Bread only appears (in sandwich form) at lunch, occasionally. But cauliflower rice and beet chips have snuck into my diet. Who would have ever thought! :-) Now once I've reached my goal I will try it.