I often prepare Indian street food for dinner at our house and I happened to have some date and tamarind sauce left over. This sauce is served frequently with Indian road side snacks and I have always been very fond of it! Although this sauce is usually served with vegetarian snacks, I decided to roast some chicken with it. I had never made a sheet pan supper before and I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly the meal came together! I also broiled dates for the very first time and I loved their chewy texture!
Keep an eye on the chicken once you have slathered on the sauce - don't let the sauce burn under the broiler! Enjoy!
Note: Chaat masala can be found at any Indian grocery store or online. It is a mixture of a variety of different spices and it lends quite a piquant flavor to the dish here, perfectly balancing the sweetness of the dates. —Madhuja
Chicken and vegetables
chicken thighs, bone in, skin off
bell pepper, diced into 1" pieces
carrot, sliced into 1/4" medallions
Russet potato, peeled and cubed into 1" pieces
large red onion, diced into 1" pieces
handful of chopped cilantro
handful of chopped mint
Date and tamarind sauce
dates, pitted (I used Deglet Noor)
tamarind concentrate (I used Tamicon)
cayenne powder (adjust according to taste)
Put all the ingredients for the sauce in a pot and bring it to a boil on medium high heat. Boil for 10-15 minutes, stirring every now and then, until the dates are almost falling apart. Keep an eye on the pot - don't let the dates stick to the bottom! Blend into a smooth sauce. The sauce should be quite thick. Taste for seasoning - if you like things really tart, you might want to add a bit more tamarind paste or if you like things spicy, add a pinch more cayenne powder. Make sure you blend it really, really well. Set aside about 3/4 cup of the sauce in a separate container as we will be using it later to slather on the meat.
Preheat oven to 375F and position rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the chicken and all the vegetables to the baking sheet. Drizzle with vegetable oil (don't add too much oil as the chicken will also release a lot of fat). Sprinkle the chaat masala over everything and mix well. (The chaat masala already has a lot of salt in it, so you don't need to add any additional salt). Bake for about 45 minutes until the meat and vegetables are cooked through, tossing the vegetables around about half way through.
After about 45 minutes, slather the sauce on the chicken thighs. Add the dates, tossing it well with the vegetables and turn on the broil. (Remember: Your baking sheet should be in the middle rack or the sweet sauce might burn under the broiler!) Broil for about 5 minutes or so, until the edges of the vegetables start charring a bit. Keep checking every minute or so; this is not the time to walk away from the oven!
Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and mint and serve immediately with the rest of the sauce on the side. Serve with your favorite Indian flat bread. Enjoy!