To be honest, my usual modus operandi when it comes to fresh herbs is that I use a few sprigs for a special recipe, and allow the remainder to wilt and rot in the bottom of my crisper drawer. But the other day I found myself with a lot of extra cilantro and mint (leftover from making this), and I remembered this chicken recipe from my friend, Mallika Basu, which blends large quantities of herbs into an aromatic marinade. Just to keep things cutting edge, I threw the chicken over a bed of spiced potatoes and cauliflower for a SHEET PAN SUPPER of chicken hariyali and aloo gobi.
Mallika is the author of my absolute favorite Indian cookbook (and she has another one on the way). Her recipes are admirably authentic, and I should probably take this opportunity to say that my recipe is merely inspired by Indian cuisine – I am sure there are many things about it that would make Mallika, who grew up in Kolkata, cringe. (I am so sorry, Mallika!!!!) Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I can admit that I used lime juice instead of lemon in the marinade – because that’s what I had on hand – and I also added yogurt because it makes chicken so tender.
To the marinade, I also added onion, garlic, and ginger – as well as a dash of cayenne pepper, because I didn’t have a fresh chili on hand. The beauty of this recipe is that the chicken actually improves with time – which makes this a perfect weeknight supper – you can prepare everything in advance and pop it in the oven when you get home.
Cauliflower and potatoes are the literal translation of “aloo gobi,” and though the dish is traditionally sautéed, roasting them on a sheet pan makes things easier for the harried (or lazy). This method also has the benefit of turning the vegetables golden brown, especially the slivers of onion, which do not burn, but turn wonderfully sweet and caramelized. Chop your vegetables in advance and – pro tip – measure out the spices in advance, too. Your future self will thank you, trust me.
As dinnertime approaches, toss the vegetables with spice mix and arrange them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Give them a good head start in the oven, and then pop the marinated chicken on top, returning the tray to the oven for a few more minutes. Voilà, you’ve got dinner – serve with cucumber raita if you can be arsed (or plain yogurt on those nights when you just can’t).
Sheet pan chicken hariyali tikka and aloo gobi
Adapted from Miss Masala
Chicken hariyali tikka
1/2 bunch mint
1/2 bunch cilantro
2 cloves garlic,
1 green chile
1/4 cup yogurt
Juice of one lemon (or lime)
Salt and pepper
3/4 lb chicken breasts, trimmed into thirds
Pluck the mint leaves from their stems. Roughly twist away the tougher cilantro stems. Peel and roughly chop the onion and garlic. Chop the chile.
In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine the mint and cilantro leaves, chopped onion, garlic, chile, yogurt, lemon juice, and pepper. Whizz until combined, adding a dash of water if necessary to obtain a smooth marinade. Taste and season with salt.
In a bowl, combine the chicken pieces with the marinade, tossing to coat evenly. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes (or up to a day, covered in the fridge).
1 lb (a small, or half head) cauliflower
4 large new potatoes
1 small onion
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons neutral oil (such as canola)
Cut the cauliflower into florets. Peel and quarter the potatoes. Peel and slice the onion.
When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. In a bowl, toss the onions, cauliflower, and potatoes with the spices, oil, and salt (to taste) until everything is evenly coated. Spread the vegetables on the sheet pan and roast for 20 minutes.
Remove the sheet pan from the oven and toss the vegetables. Nestle the chicken into the vegetables, slathering each piece with excess marinade. Return the pan to the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes until the chicken is completely cooked. Serve with cucumber raita or plain yogurt.