Tandoori ChickenFeb 25th, 2010 | By Peter Minakis | Category: Appetizer, Featured, Indian, Main, Poultry, Recipes, Spices
It’s time to break the monotony of the series if Lenten dishes I’ve been posting. For the record: I fast for the first week of Lent, revert back to my regular diet of meat, seafood, vegetables (all in moderation) and I’ll revert back to the Greek-Orthodox fast for Holy Week (preceding Easter on April 4th). I’ve made a shift in my diet towards more vegetables, legumes and fish and seafood.
Tandoori chicken. The first time I had this dish of dishes was at an Indian restaurant that actually had a Tandoor on the premise. A Tandoor is a cylindrical clay oven that’s used to cooking and baking. Other countries in Asia also use the tandoor in their cooking but the Indian use of it is best known.
My memories of that first time are as such: skewers of marinated chicken placed vertically into the tandoor and cooked to perfection. The brilliant red of the meat excites you when the plate is brought to your table, a bite into the chicken tells you this chicken is succulent, delicious and you can see the smoke ring from the paprika that’s penetrated the surface of the meat. The aroma matches the exotic taste, spiced with ginger, coriander, garlic, paprika, cumin and a Garam Masala mixture. A “who’s who” of spice blends.
As many would expect with Indian cuisine, there’s some heat in this dish and you may certainly tailor the intensity according to your tastes or what you think your guests can handle. Garam Masala is an Indian spice mixture that can also vary from region to region. Toronto has a large south-east Asian community and finding Garam Masala in the supermarket is as easy as finding the “international foods” aisle.
Many of you may not find Garam Masala in your part of the world. You may exhale, relax and be comforted in knowing that you can make your own Garam Masala mixture. The most common blend includes black peppercorns, bay leaves, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cloves, cardamom and dried ginger.
Many of the above ingredients also appear as individual additions to my recipe but the combination of ground spices and the toasted spices that are then ground to make a Garam Masala mixture is what makes the dish special through the subtleties and attention to spice blends in Indian cuisine.
Beyond amassing the spices for this dish, the recipe is rather easy. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and taste-test before adding the chicken pieces. Cover with plastic cling-wrap and marinate overnight. If using wooden skewers, it’s also a good idea to soak them in water overnight to limit/prevent burning when they hit the grill.
My final word on this marinade is the yogurt. The yogurt in this marinade blend made the pieces of chicken moist, super-tender. Don’t omit this ingredient. You’ll be rewarded with some of the tastiest, most tender morsels of chicken you’ve ever had. I used boneless leg and thigh meat but I have every reason to believe that you’ll get the same stellar results with chicken breast meat.
I served this yesterday with some baked Basmati rice: one cup of rinsed Basmati rice, 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock and a good dab of butter and into the oven for 35-40 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Immediately fluff with a fork and keep warm. Serve with your grilled Tandoori chicken, a squeeze of lime or lemon juice and some fresh naan or pita bread.
1 kg. of chicken (leg, high or breast), cubed
1 cup of plain yogurt
1 tsp. of Garam Masala (you may make your own spice blend)
juice of half lemon or lime
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small onion, passed through your box grater
1 heaping Tbsp. of sweet paprika
1 Tbsp. of fresh ground ginger
1 tsp. of ground cumin
1 tsp. of ground coriander seeds
pinch of red chilli powder or Cayenne
1 1/2 tsp. of salt
- In a large bowl, mix all your marinade ingredients except for the chicken pieces and salt. Have a taste and gradually add the salt until you’re satisfied with the seasoning. Now add your chicken and toss well to coat. Cover with cling-wrap and place in your fridge for up to one day.
- The next day, take your chicken out of the fridge when you’re ready to grill and allow the meat to return to room temperature. Skewer the pieces of chicken on your soaked wooden sticks. Pre-heat your gas or charcoal grill. Brush off any excess residue from your previous grilling session and set your grill for a medium-high heat.
- When your grill is heated, wipe the grill surface with a paper towel treated with vegetable oil. Now grill your Tandoori chicken skewers for about 4-5 minutes a side. Squeeze some fresh lemon or lime juice and serve with Basmati rice and some fresh naan or pita bread.
If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or atÂ http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.
Â© 2007-2010 Peter Minakis
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© 2010, Peter Minakis. All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.