Tandoori Chicken is a very popular Indian roasted chicken dish that is marinated in yoghurt and lots of different spices. A very hot and spicy chicken dish but versions outside India had been toned down to be more palatable. Original version uses a lot of turmeric and ground chillies to achieve that distinctive red orange colour but due to Westernization and mellowing down of flavours food colouring is now used. Like naan, this dish is also cooked in a tandoor (clay oven) in very hot temperatures which reaches 480C it is where it got its name as well.
The origin of this dish is attributed to Kundan Lal Gujral who ran a restaurant called Moti Mahal in the 1920′s in Peshawar (now in Pakistan). But do to the its separation to India Gujral moved his restaurant in Delhi and it is where the tandoori chicken got famous as during that time it was only the naan’s that are cooked in the tandoor. He started cooking chicken in that clay oven to keep his patrons interested in the techniques he used for cooking. The style and recipe became really popular even Jawaharlal Nehru the first Prime Minister of India during that period made it a regular dish served on official banquets where foreign dignitaries are invited.
A real classic Indian dish which is enjoyed best using the classic style which is super-hot and spicy. Was lucky to try some in Malaysia where they don’t tone down the spices as that what really defines a tandoori chicken, I tried some here in New Zealand but the taste is so much mellowed down. I suggest you try this one out but if it is too hot and spicy for you make it as an appetizer and consume in small amounts.
8-10 pcs chicken legs, skinned
1 cup plain yogurt
juice from 2 lemons
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp cayenne, adjust this one to your liking
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cloves
freshly ground black pepper
1. In a bowl mix together yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, paprika, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, cardamom, cloves, freshly ground black pepper and salt.
2. Prick chicken meat with a fork then place it on the bowl with the marinade, rub well the chicken with the marinade then cover the bowl and marinate for at least 8 hours.
3. Remove chicken from the fridge then pour 1/4 cup of oil over the marinade, mix it well then place on a roasting pan. Reserve any remaining marinade.
4. Bake in a 220C preheated oven for 15 minutes on one side then brush again chicken with the leftover marinade then lower the heat to 200C then bake the other side for a further 10-15 minutes or until juices run clear.