Sunday is usually my day to lounge around in pajamas, watch Netflix, and order in rest. But yesterday, I used my time wisely and made a lovely dinner: Cornish Hens with Tamarind Glaze.
My favorite part of this dish is the glaze. It uses traditional South Asian ingredients such as garam masala and tamarind paste. I absolutely LOVE the flavor of tamarind. Once, I even ate the paste on a spoon like peanut butter.*
Ripe tamarind has a sweet and sour, tangy flavor and is used in cuisines all over the world. It is commonly featured as the base for the sweet brown chutney accompanying samosas.
When I achieve culinary superhero status, making my own tamarind paste from scratch will be a priority. Until then, this is a brand I like.
Begin by seasoning hens with salt, pepper, and garam masala.
Bake hens for 20 minutes in a 425° oven. While they are baking, make the tamarind glaze. Saute some shallots and garlic for 5 minutes. Stir in all other ingredients except maple syrup and tamarind paste. Reduce by half. Add in remaining ingredients. Cook until the liquid thickens.
Remove hens from oven and reduce heat. Apply half the glaze and return to oven.
Bake until cooked through. Cover hens with remaining glaze. Let them rest before serving.
*It happened more than once.
Recipe: Cornish Hens with Tamarind Glaze
Adapted from Bobby Flay’s Garam Masala Rubbed Cornish Hen with Maple-Tamarind Glaze
- 2 Cornish Hens
- 2 Tbsp. garam masala
- Tamarind Glaze
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 small shallots, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp. garlic, finely chopped
- 4 Tbsp. garam masala
- 1 Tbsp. crushed red chili flakes
- ½ cup low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 tsp. black peppercorns
- 1 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp. tamarind paste
Preheat oven to 425°. Wash and pat dry the hens. Liberally season both with salt, pepper, and garam masala. Place in baking pan and bake for 20 minutes.
While the hens are baking, make the tamarind glaze.
For glaze: Heat vegetable oil in a medium saucepan. Add shallots and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add chicken stock, garam masala, crushed red chili flakes, and peppercorns. Cook until the liquid has reduced by half. Stir in maple syrup and tamarind paste and cook for 10 minutes longer, until the glaze has thickened. Allow it to cool before using.
Remove the hens from the oven and reduce the heat to 375°. Brush the hens with half of the Tamarind Glaze and return to oven.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°. Remove from the oven and brush with the rest of the glaze. Let hens rest for 10 minutes to redistribute the juices before serving.