It’s a freezer, not a time machine

tandoori drumsticks
tandoori drumsticks

I use my freezer a lot, even though I don’t tend to buy frozen food. I mostly freeze freshly cooked food that have made myself, says Parven The Spice Queen.

I call it my “emergency food” for when I need proper food but don’t have time to cook, which is ironic really, given that I cook for a living.

Parveen Ashraf The Spice Queen

Parveen Ashraf The Spice Queen

So, this week I used some of my emergency food as it’s been a busy week indeed; I made 200 spice packs to add to goodie bags for the Cambridge Good Food Awards, then I catered a “Cocktails & Canapés” party for WI at the Bakekhouse in Stamford - one day’s rest and I then had to prep for a private cooking lesson for six people near Corby Glen... phew!

So, Sunday was my day to rest... mow the lawn, weed the garden and deep clean the fridge. So, all I can say is thank goodness for my freezer.

I had made Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks a few weeks ago and froze a dozen. All I had to do, is pop them in the oven for 10 minutes on high, knock up a quick salad and while the oven was on, I also heated through half baked bread - job done!

I see my freezer as a life saver and I freeze a lot of my own recipes. But a word of warning, don’t leave food in there too long. As my youngest son, Cyrus would say “it’s a freezer mum, not a time machine!”

Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks

This recipe may be described as ‘Tandoori’ which actually means a clay oven, but seeing as many of us don’t have one of those, a bog standard conventional oven will have to do. Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks are great to serve at a party and best of all, they are so easy to prepare with very little actual cooking. Just marinade the chicken and pop in the oven.

I am often asked so many questions about how long tandoori chicken needs to marinated for? Is it overnight, is it two hours or ten minutes? Actually, it’s all three. The longer you marinate the chicken for, the more tender it tends to be.

Preparation time: 10 minutes; Cooking time: 40 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 dozen chicken drumsticks

1 tbsp plain yoghurt

1 tsp of chilli powder

1 tsp of tandoori powder

1 tsp coriander seed powder

½ tsp chilli flakes

(or a SPICE BAG)

2 tsp lemon juice

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp salt

METHOD

1. With a sharp knife, carefully score the fleshiest part of the drumstick, this allows all the lovely spices to be absorbed into the chicken ( buy drumsticks without the skin on).

2. In a large bowl, add the yoghurt, salt, lemon juice, and all the spices, oil and mix together - this is the marinade. Now add chicken pieces and coat thoroughly.

3. Leave to marinate at room temperature for 30 mins.

4. Place chicken in a baking tray and cover with aluminium foil, cook in hot oven at 200°C for 30 minutes.

5. Take the foil off and you will notice all the juices from the chicken, do not drain this, as you will need this liquid to baste the chicken pieces.

6. Continue to cook the chicken, for a further 10 minutes, keep turning and basting the chicken in its own juices until tender. The liquid should reduce and the chicken should be slightly crispy.

PARVEEN’S TOP TIP

If you like it spicy, just add an extra tsp of chilli or chilli flakes, which also makes the chicken look even more appetising. And if you are not a fan of chicken drumstick, you can use chicken thighs, they are just as lovely and tender.

Try adding potatoes to the recipes, just add 10 to 12 new potatoes and cut into halves at stage 2. It’s amazing because as the dish cooks, they have all the flavour of the chicken but they’re potatoes.