As great as these food trucks are though, never count out the little guy. The smaller street corner vendors are every bit as good as the big food trucks. Finding your favorite one is the trick. Once you do and you become a regular, they typically charge you a dollar less here, thrown in an extra falafel there and even tell you their recipe if you ask nice enough.
My personal all time favorite street corner vendor food in NYC is Indian style food. These guys are everywhere so it’s never hard to find one no matter where I am in the city on any given day. I do find though that like any restaurant, these guys are not all created equal and their food does not always taste the same; some are way better than others. One of the best ways to see who has the best food is to check out how long the line is. The good ones also sport street corner Vendy Awards, so if you see they have one, it’s a good bet you’re getting a great lunch. Chicken, lamb, falafels, veggies and rice are the standard offerings. My guy hooks me up big time…A chicken and lamb platter with extra veggies and brown rice, white sauce only (no red sauce) and no wilted salad as filler. He even throws in two falafels for free and all for 5 bucks. Huge portion and I get a recipe from him to boot!
Speaking of recipes, today we have Street Corner Indian Chicken (as I have now dubbed it). After asking my guy many times, and getting a different story each time because he is not a man who uses measurements, I had to make this one a few times to match the flavor bite for bite. I knew what was in it as he did give me a list of all the spices, I just had to adjust the amounts. I did tweak the recipe a bit after getting it exact to his version as I am a huge fan of smoke paprika, and to be honest, it really made all the difference in this recipe.
This recipe packs a wallop when it comes to flavor. I do mine on the BBQ as I like a grilled flavor over that of a flattop. I have been serving this at my house with mashed cauliflower as the side. Besides being one of my favorite things to eat, the mashed cauliflower is also healthier than the rice I would get while at work. I’ve also been serving this on soft corn tortillas with all the fixings when we have friends over (as seen in the photos).
This recipes calls for a lot of chicken because we use this for when we have company, but we also love to have extra to take our leftovers to work. If you still want to make less, you will have to drill it down on your own.
Street Corner Indian Chicken
- 18 to 20 boneless, skinless Chicken Thighs
- 1 ¼ tbsp Curry Powder; I use Madras Curry Powder
- ½ tbsp Smoke Paprika
- ½ tbsp Cumin Powder
- ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1/8 tsp Chipotle Powder (or Ancho powder); both are optional as they are for extra smoke and heat
- ½ tsp Garlic Powder; or 1 tsp fresh minced Garlic
- 1 small Onion; large rough chopped pieces
- ¼ cup of Light Olive Oil
- ½ tsp Lemon Juice; or about 1 good squeeze
- ½ tbsp Kosher Salt
- 1/8 tsp Black Pepper
- Using a large Tupperware; rinse the chicken and place them into the Tupperware (no need to pat dry as the extra water will become part of the marinade).
- Throw in all ingredients, combine well and marinade overnight.
- Heat the outdoor grill to high. Take chicken out of marinade, let the oil drip off but do not wipe off the spices; place chicken on the grill.
- Cook thighs on each side until you see a nice char. As these are very thin they will cook very fast.
(shown in photo with Buffalo Cauliflower Dip which will be debuting on this blog as the next recipe)
Marinating Side Note; there is a reason people call for certain amounts of time when marinating meats, and that is to let the marinade penetrate the meat and get you them most flavor (or to tenderize). I am calling for an overnight marinade with this recipe, however, if you want to do them the same day, 4 hours is the minimum in my opinion to get full flavor.