Origins of Tandoori Chicken
The unique history of the Tandoori Chicken dates back to the time of the Mughals. Grand feasts were conducted by the kings in their palaces. Its popularity however, expanded accross India in more recent times. Just before the partition of India, there was a man called Kundan Lal Gujral who ran a restaurant called Moti Mahal in Peshawar. In order to keep the customers interested and add a touch of variety to the menu card, he started to cook the chicken on day ovens and serve them red hot on the plate. The customers who visited the shop were delighted by the new preparation and welcomed its arrival. Later on, he moved to Delhi and his restaurant attained enormous popularity. Even, the first Prime Minister of India, Mr Nehru was greatly impressed by this Tandoori Chicken delicacy.
Plan ahead, this one takes time. In fact, at least 8 hours of marination, but preferably overnight. The cook time is just 45 minutes, and it is worth the prep time to achieve the maximum flavour that only a good Tandoori dish delivers.
Best Tandoori Chicken recipe
Serves 4: Prep Time 8 hours: Cook Time 45 minutes :
• 1 (1.2 Kg : size 12) chicken, cut into serving pieces,
• Remove skin and all visible fat
• 1/2 cup plain yogurt
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or malt vinegar
• 1 tablespoon minced garlic
• 1 tablespoon peeled and grated or crushed ginger root
• 1 tablespoon ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon ground coriander
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
• 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
• Vegetable oil, for brushing
• Fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish
• Slices of cucumber, red onion, tomato and lemon, for garnish
Prick the flesh of the chicken all over with a fork. Then, using a sharp knife, cut slashes in the chicken to allow the marinade to penetrate. Place the chicken in a large glass shallow dish.
In a glass bowl, combine the yogurt, lemon juice or vinegar, garlic, ginger, cumin, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, cardamom, cloves, black pepper and salt. Stir until well-mixed, then pour the mixture over the chicken and rub it vigorously into the flesh, turning the chicken several times. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or for best results overnight, but do not marinate for longer than 2 days.Remove the chicken from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking. The chicken may be grilled or roasted.
Remove the chicken from the marinade, pressing lightly to extract excess marinade, and brush with oil. Place the chicken pieces on a well-oiled grill rack and; grill, covered, with the vents open, turning 3 or 4 times, 45 minutes or until the juices run clear when a piece is pierced near the bone with a knife. If roasting, preheat the oven to 200 degrees C . Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan, brush with oil, and cook, turning once, 25 to 30 minutes until the juices run clear when a piece is pierced near the bone with a knife.
Serve with sprigs of cilantro and slices of cucumber, red onion, tomato, and lemon.
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