Saturday, 14 July 2012

Tandoori Chicken

One of the most popular North Indian dishes, tandoori chicken roasting is all about flavour sealed in high heat clay oven cooking, yet maintaining the tenderness of the meat. The meat is marinated for long hours, preferably overnight in a fragrant blend of spices and later cooked in the oven reaching 480ºC.

As regular ovens do not reach such high temperatures, I took an alternative approach: medium temperature and longer cooking time to keep the meat from drying out. I did, however, cheat and use a prepared tandoori spice mix instead of making it from scratch. Here’s how to prepare the chicken:
The pre-mixed tandoori masala I used for this recipe

2 chicken legs (you can use breast meat too, but it will require shorter cooking time)
1 tablespoon tandoori mix (pictured above)
1 cup thick yogurt 
A sprinkle of salt
Olive oil

Mint sauce
1 bunch of fresh mint, chopped
½ onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
A slice of ginger
1 green chilli (optional)
1 teaspoon coriander powder
2 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
sesame seed for garnish

Stir in the yogurt and tandoori mix powder together to form the marinade. Coat the chicken meat well in that paste and leave both meat and marinade in a freezer bag in a fridge overnight.

Set the temperature of the oven to 160 ºC. Sprinkle some salt over the marinated chicken and massage it in. Line a baking tray with foil, place the chicken pieces on the tray and lightly drizzle some olive oil over them. Bake for about 90-110 minutes, or until there are clear juices running from the chicken, whichever earliest.

Meanwhile, blend all the mint sauce ingredients together. Season according to your taste. Garnish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

I served this with garlic naan and a cooling cucumber raita. Sprinkle minced garlic and lightly drizzle olive oil over (store bought) naan bread and heat it in the oven for a minute or two. For the raita, stir in some runny yogurt with chopped cucumber.
Tandoori chicken with garlic naan, cucumber raita, mango lassi and mint sauce

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