Tandoori Chicken, often fondly called the Indian National Dish, is omnipresent throughout the entire North India. One can find tons of restaurants serving luscious and tender pieces of chicken grilled in tandoors or clay ovens. Its unique flavor can be attributed to the use of tandoor to a great extent.
This clay oven is usually 3-4 feet high and adds a unique flavor to the chicken. Its versatility is one of the main reasons behind its popularity. It can be served well with spicy yogurt and mint chutney, onions, and thin Indian breads.
Here is an easy tandoori chicken recipe:
Chicken (skinned and cut into serving sizes) – 1
Plain yogurt – ½ cup
Malt vinegar or fresh lemon juice – 2 tablespoons
Garlic (minced) – 1 teaspoon
Ginger Root (crushed or grated) – 1 tablespoon
Ground cumin – 1 tablespoon
Ground coriander – 1 teaspoon
Cayenne pepper – ½ teaspoon
Ground cardamom – ¼ teaspoon
Ground cloves – ¼ teaspoon
Fresh ground black pepper – ¼ teaspoon
Salt – as per your taste
Fresh cilantro (for garnishing)
Cucumber slices, Spanish onion, lemon, and tomato (for garnishing)
1. Use a fork and prick the chicken all over the flesh. Then, make small incisions all over the chicken using a pointed knife. This will help in marinating the chicken in a much better manner by allowing it to penetrate inside. Keep all chicken pieces in a shallow dish and set aside.
2. In another large bowl, mix together vinegar or lemon juice, yogurt, ginger, garlic, ground coriander, cumin, cardamom, cloves, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Blend them till all ingredients are mixed together well. After this, pour the mixture all over the chicken pieces. Rub the marinade into the flesh by turning it several times to make sure the pieces are well coated with the marinade. Cover the bowl and keep in the refrigerator overnight or for a minimum of 8 hours. Bring out the marinated chicken from your refrigerator at least 30 minutes prior to cooking it.
3. You can either roast or grill the chicken. If you are using charcoal grill, arrange a fire for cooking the chicken directly on it. Place the grilling rack at a distance of 5 inches away from the fire. Let the coal pieces burn out till they are completely covered with white ash and heat is reduced to moderate.
4. Remove chicken pieces from marinade and brush them properly with oil. Place the pieces on a greased grilling rack and cook them. Make sure to keep the charcoal grill covered and its vents open. Turn the chicken pieces at least 3 times while cooking it. Cook for about 45 minutes or till its juices run clear when pierced near the bone using a knife.
5. If you are roasting the chicken, pre-heat your oven to a temperature of 450 degrees. Place the pieces of chicken on the rack, brush them will oil, and roast them for 25 to 30 minutes, turning at least once. Cook till the juices run clear when pierced near the bone using a knife.
6. Once cooked properly, serve the chicken pieces garnished with cilantro springs, and slices of tomato, lemon, cucumber, and red onion.
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