One of those amazing dishes that all you can say is WOW! This spice rub has become one of our new favorites and we have already started it using it when entertaining guests. A versatile dish that I would use for an Indian dinner as well as a more western type meal. Works great on larger birds and is also fabulous when the meat is grilled rather than roasted.
Based on the recipe Roasted Cornish Hens in Healthy South Indian Cooking by Alamelu Vairavan and Patricia Marquardt.
2 Cornish game hens, washed, dried and split in half
For spice rub
4 T dried toovar dal or supermarket yellow split peas
2 T whole black peppercorns
2 T cumin seeds
4 whole dried red chili peppers
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup olive oil or other light oil
Preheat oven to 350°.
Dry roast the dal and the spices in a skillet over medium heat until the spices are aromatic, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Grind the toasted mixture until coarse in a coffee grinder. Be sure the coffee grinder is cleaned and doesn’t taste of coffee (to clean, grind dried rice in it and discard.)
Place the ground spice mixture in a bowl and add the garlic and oil and mix into a paste.
Rub the mixture on all sides of the birds.
Place the birds on a foil lined baking sheet and roast uncovered until the skin is crispy brown and meat is done, about 45 minutes. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes and serve.