The first time I ate at a Koo Koo Roo I fell madly in love with the chicken. Back then they offered very few sides – always tandoori bread, a vegetable, and either pilaf or roasted potatoes. That was okay though, because for me it was all about the chicken. I would rip off a chunk and wrap it in the flat bread, scooping up any of the marinade that dripped off the chicken before biting off a chunk. That location closed and it was a while before we had another Koo Koo Roo in town. I had my daughters by then and I remember that when I looked at the sides they offered I was amazed that the little hole-in-the-wall we had known had grown into this popular place with a dozen choices for sides. We had to try them all. The one that made the most impact on me was the roasted sweet potato which was served plain. The one the girls loved was the mac and cheese. We went back and had different sides until we’d tried them all, but we all agreed, it was really all about the chicken.
Koo Koo Roo has left Southern Nevada and I have missed it. I have tried to replicate the recipe, but without the original for comparison, I’m afraid it proved impossible. In trying I did manage, in one of my failures, to find a chicken recipe that my family loves.
Not Koo Koo Roo Chicken
6 oz can vegetable juice cocktail (I like regular V8)
8 ounces plain low-fat yoghurt
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2.5 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks
Mix all ingredients in airtight container that can be shaken and turned upside down. Marinate anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. Place chicken in covered dish, spooning marinade over. Bake 350 for 45 minutes or until juices of chicken run clear when pierced. Serve with Naan or Tandoori bread, Couscous and Raita.
Couscous: Bring two cups of chicken stock (or two cups water with 2 bullion cubes) to boil with 1 large chopped onion, cover and continue to boil about 2 minutes. Add in 1 rounded cup couscous, turn off heat, and cover. Allow to sit 10 minutes. Fluff with fork.
Raita: In bowl mix 3/4 cup plain low-fat yoghurt with 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream. Add 1 grated, peeled cucumber, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh mint, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro. Mix well.