I don’t make Tandoori Chicken at home. When you can order the same off the restaurant across the road, it somehow seems pointless. Especially because the restaurant boasts of a tandoor (clay oven) and I don’t. And I would be a fraud to make this at home and call it ‘tandoori’ chicken when in fact – there was no tandoor to make it in!
So after struggling with this notion and willfully desisting from even venturing in that direction – the co-resident broke all the rules. He was having a barbeque party and could I please marinate some chicken for it? Sure I said, ‘What marinade do you want?’ Tandoori marinade, he cooed. *Gasp, splutter, shaking the head in disbelief and denial*. Why don’t you just buy it off *insert name of restaurant here*, I asked. Because for a barbeque party you need to barbeque, not buy stuff and besides it’s not like you will be grilling it, just marinating it, he insisted. Sigh… that logic was sound and I’m a true believer in good logic, but it was just working against me here!
So he went and bought the chicken and the rest of the ingredients and even proceeded to wash and clean the meat. He extracted the lemon juice and set aside all the masalas for the marinade. With no excuses left, I had to succumb. I felt strangely guilty – like I was going against my ‘Do not Do’ list! In the end, I did marinate it and the co-resident turned out a beautiful tandoori chicken sans tandoor. Maybe my guilt will be assuaged if I just call it chicken barbequed in Indian spices. But that sounds long and boring. So we’ll leave it as Tandoori Chicken and I’ll add a disclaimer.
Prep time: 15 mins
Marinating time: 4 hours or overnight
Cooking time: 20-25 mins
What you need:
6 Chicken pieces (combination of thigh and leg, about 1 Kg)
½ Lemon, juice of
100 ml thick Yoghurt (I use Nestle set curd)
3 Tbsp Double Cream
1 Tbsp Gram Flour
1 Tbsp Garlic paste
1 Tbsp Ginger paste
2 Tbsp Chilli Powder
1 tsp Coriander powder (dhaniya)
½ tsp Cumin Powder (Jeera)
½ tsp Garam Masala
½ tsp Turmeric powder
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil for brushing
3 Tbsp melted Butter
Salt to taste
Orange-red food coloring (optional)
1/2 Onion, sliced
½ cup chopped Corainder leaves
What to do:
Make 2-3 small slits in each chicken piece and place in a large non-metallic bowl. Rub in the lemon juice with some salt, cover and chill in the refrigerator for 20 mins.
In a separate bowl whisk the yoghurt, cream and gram flour to a smooth paste. Add all the remaining ingredients except the butter and oil and mix thoroughly. (You can skip the food coloring if you wish. The chicken will take on a more muted yellow color). Marinate the chicken pieces in this mixture, making sure you rub in the marinade into the slits. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight. Return to room temperature before cooking.
Preheat the grill (or if you are using a coal barbeque – make sure it’s nice and hot). Brush the rack with oil. Using a tong, lift the chicken pieces out of the marinade and put on the hot grill. Cook for four minutes and turn over and cook for another four minutes. (Generally when the chicken lifts off the grill easily you know it’s time to turn it over). Baste the chicken with a bit of the reserved marinade and cook again for 2 minutes on each side.
Now, brush the chicken with the melted butter and cook for 5-6 mins, or until charred in patches. (Trust me, the charred bits are what give the tandoori chicken character). Turn over and repeat for a further 5-6 mins or till the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted into the thickest part of the meat.
Transfer the chicken to a dish and serve with wedges of lemon and the onion-coriander mix. A mint youghurt chutney is the ideal dip. You can even make an awesome tandoori chicken roll J