One of my all time favorite grilled Indian/Pakistani dishes, the deep fiery red orange color of the meat really stands out, while the yogurt and spice marinade add a unique depth of flavor. This dish tastes great with rabbit. More often than not, this recipe can leave your lips tingling with it's generous use of red chili peppers, but the dish does not have to be spicy hot. That is a major misconception about Indian/Pakistani food, that it is always served flaming spicy hot. There are indeed some dishes that are made that way, but tandoori is generally mild in regards to the heat factor.
There are a wide variety of commercially prepared tandoori spice mixtures available at your local ethnic (Indian or Pakistani) market. One of my favorite is the Pakistani 'Shan' brand, but like many package mixes, it tends to be hotter than the average American enjoys. And as we have previously discussed on multiple occasions, buying pre-packaged mixes is always more expensive than making the recipe from scratch. As always, using your own recipe allows you to control the ingredients. You decide if you want your tandoori to be flaming hot or not.
As almost no one here in the states has a tandoori oven at home, we will be cooking our rabbit on the grill. I will also include instructions on how to cook it in the oven, but I prefer the method of grilling. Again, I give you the options, you make the decisions. If you want to make your own Indian pastes to use in you dishes check out my article 'Basic Masala Paste' on my blog 'Culinary You'. Included in this article are recipes for more than 6 different curry pastes that you can use in recipes like this one instead of having to use the dry spices. I actually have some canned up in small jelly jars in my pantry.
8 to 10 pieces of rabbit
1 recipe yogurt marinade with spices added (see below)
Yogurt (wet) Mixture
1 cup plain yogurt
¼ cup canola oil or ghee (clarified butter)
¼ cup lemon juice
1 drop red food coloring
3 drops yellow food coloring
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix throughly with a spoon or whisk and set aside and make you dry spice mixture.
Spice (dry) Mixture
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon curry powder or garam masala
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine your dry spices together and mix throughly and then add to the yogurt mixture and mix throughly with a spoon or whisk. If you like your tandoori hot double the amount of cayenne pepper, or combine the dry spices with the wet mixture in a blender and add 2 whole pickled or fresh jalapeño peppers seeds and all and puree your yogurt marinade until smooth.
Rinse and pat dry the rabbit, season with salt and black pepper as desired. Place in a large bowl or 1 gallon zip lock bag and pour the marinade over the meat. Place the marinating meat in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 to 6 hours, for the best flavor marinate the meat overnight.
When you are ready to cook, heat up your grill or preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Remove the meat from the marinade and placed on a plate (if grilling) or a foil lined baking sheet if you are cooking it in the oven.
Grilling Procedure – If using a a charcoal grill heat until coals turn ash white then place meat on the grill and cook for 10 to 15 minutes per side for a total of 35 to 45 minutes or until the juices run clear. When using a gas grill, I heat mine for 5 minutes, then turn one burner off and place the meat on the side of the grill in which the burner is off and cook for 15 minutes. Then turn on both burners and turn the meat and place it on the other side of the grill and turn the burner under the meat off and cook for another 15 minutes. Repeat as necessary until the meat has cooked for 45 minutes or until the juices run clear.
Oven Procedure – Bake chicken or rabbit for 45 minutes at 350 degrees, then place under broiler and heat until browned. Be careful to check regularly when broiler on as meat can burn easily.
Chef's Note: If you are going to use one of my pre-made curry pastes found in the article: 'Basic Masala Paste', then substitute 3 tablespoons of the curry paste for the dry spice mixture.
While this recipe is traditionally made with chicken, it is great with rabbit. My family really enjoys it both ways. This recipe is just another of the great ways in which you can substitute your home raised rabbit for chicken and share with your friends and family. I hope you will give it a try and that your family will enjoy it is much as mine.
Indian Style Grilled Rabbit….Fantastic!