On evenings coming back from work, when the bus was running terribly behind schedule, I volunteerd to get down way before my stop and walk down home.The side walk still wet from the rain spells an hour or two before smelled of decaying earth and lush green foliage all along looked as fresh as just bathed.The moist breeze of monsoon evenings was a much sought break after spending the whole day in air conditioning.
The fastest way to home get to home was through of busyÂ market surrounded by the yellow government quarters (apartments) which looked like tiny match boxes stuffed on top of each other. In India, such streets are dotted with places to eat and these little food joints have been around for so many years that they turn into local favorites.
wasÂ is a take out restaurantÂ which was one of our favorites for non vegetarian food in the area. All you notice as a passerby were two or three young men wearing colored vests standing in front of the clay oven (tandoor)on one side,their hands stained in spices skewing marinated birds and tikkaÂ on to the slender iron bars, and some makingÂ rumali rotiÂ (paper thin flatbreads) on the other side. The aroma of smoke & cooked dough clinged to the blanket of air surrounding the entrance and the eternal long queue at the coupon station was a common sight.
When we went to Delhi last year, I made sure that the husband tastes the food from there. I remember we ordered garlicyÂ naan, butter chicken andÂ tandoori chicken for home delivery. Its been quite a while and we still talk about the meal from thatÂ night so you know what I mean. There must be thousands of places in Delhi serving bestest tandoori chicken but this little restaurant thriving in a tiny pocket of big city is where most of my family memories are woven aroundÂ - of celebration, of laughter of cheerful Sunday meals around the table.
This recipe Â took me quite a few attempts to get together. In India,the tandoori is more charred and blackish in appearanceÂ Â than the orange hued you see here at restaurants. Infact, if you use good quality turmeric and kashmiri chilli powder, ideally the reddish-orange color should come along on its own during high heat roasting. In India, we do not eat chicken skin, so whenever making tandoori, use skinless chicken, the meat should be succulent and moist on the inside & chewy on the outside (not crispy).
- 8Â chicken drumsticks Â (my package weighed total 2Â lb, you could use any dark meat cut)
- oil for basting
- For serving -Â Chaat masala, onion slices, lemon wedges, fresh chopped cilantro.
- ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon redÂ chilli powder or cayenne (adjust to tolerance)
- 10 black peppercorns
- 2 black cardamom, seeds only
- 1Â green cardamom, seeds only
- 2 cloves
- 8Â raw cashews, broken (or use 2 tablespoon cashew meal)
- 1 small twig of cinnamon (see notes)
- ¼ cup thick plain yogurt
- 1" fresh ginger
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 tbspÂ garam masala
- 1.25 tbspÂ chaat masala
- 2Â tspÂ kashmiriÂ chilli powder (this lends the color,not the heat)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
- scant pinch ofÂ ajwainÂ seeds
- 1 tbspÂ ghee,Â melted and cooled
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- ½ teaspoon good quality saffron threads (optional)
- Indian cinnamon is quite sharp as compared to the sweet cinnamon used in the west, that's why I have noted a small quantity, adjust as per taste but do not go overboard.
- Black Cardamom has no substitute in this recipe. It has a woody, strong flavor and aroma much different that the sweet smelling cardamom. If you do not have it simply skip it.
- Chaat MasalaÂ is a tangy blend of spices which is used in indian cuisine.In this recipe it makes the marinade thick as well as lends it distinct hints of sharpness & smokiness,if you do not have it, use some lemon juice and a bit of roasted cumin powder in its place. If you want you can orderÂ onlineÂ Â or buy at indian/pakistani store. It keeps well for almost a year and can be used in salads, roasted vegetables or meats etc.
- You can make theÂ tandooriÂ marinade and immediately freeze it up to a month. When using, thaw it in the refrigerator and mix in the proteins or vegetables you are using.
- I recommend not using lean or boneless cuts like chicken breast for makingÂ tandooriÂ because the high heat of cooking will immediately make the poultry chewy. You could use whole boneless thighs though.
Skin the chicken and wash it under a running steam of water. Using paper towels, completely pat the chicken dry.Using a sharp knife, make incisions in the chicken and place in a bowl. Thoroughly rub the chicken with lemon juice, salt and chili powder. Set in the refrigerator.
Lightly crush theÂ the black peppercorns, cardamom seeds, cloves and cinnamon in mortar & pestle.Place them into the blender. Add the cashews, yogurt,ginger, garlic,Â garam masala, chaat masala, kashmiriÂ chilli powder, turmeric, nutmeg,Â ajwain,Â ghee,Â saffronÂ and salt to the blender.Blend everything very very well till a smooth paste is formed. Refrigerate this paste forÂ 30Â minutes for flavors to mix.(If its not very hot, you can leave it on the kitchen counter top else in the fridge so that yogurt does not turn sour)
Mix in the chicken and the marinade and let sit refrigeratedÂ for 18-24 hours (at least). This time of marination is really important. You could marinate up to 2 days in advance.
Once ready to cook, leave the chicken pieces out of the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil (this makes cleaning easy) and set a rack over it. Also, preheat your oven to its highest temperature Â (600 F in my case). Place the chicken pieces over the rack and roast for 20 -25 minutes or until done, basting liberally with oil. Use a lot of oil for basting, this is very important for a moist chicken. You will need to open up the oven door and brush the chicken 3-5 times, keep on turning it to cook on all sides. Alternatively you could grill the chicken outdoors,basting it at intervals
Serve hotÂ immediately with chaat masala, onion slices, lemon wedges, fresh chopped cilantro.
Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!
It looks ever so scrumptious! This is a dish I adore.
Looks divine! I on the other hand use skin on chicken pieces when making tandoori chicken because it helps in getting the desired charred look when placed under the broiler.
excellent recipe; its good to see that other than a few added ingredients in your recipe as compared to mine the results are great. Made in my tandoor for many years. Agree chiciken breasts have to be barbecued delicately as it dries so fast and has to be eaten right away
Kiran @ KiranTarun.com
I'm a huge sucker for tandoori chicken! This is YUM! 🙂
Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health
i have some chicken drumsticks in the refrigerator - i know what to do 🙂
The words and the memories AND the photographs - they're all so beautiful! Thank you for sharing this 🙂
Yum!!! Nom! Nom! nom! drooling here ðŸ˜‹
Fascinated by the 'complexity' of the double marinade and just have to attempt this. One has to be 'organized' with the long marinade time, but otherwise it is easy and I cannot wait to see how it tastes!! Thank you 🙂 !
Crystal | Apples & Sparkle
Your stories never fail to transport me. This tandoori chicken looks amazing!
This looks so scrumptious and I can't wait to try your recipe!
Gorgeous pictures and recipe. I have to try this out very soon!
Carol at Wild Goose Tea
I totally enjoyed your post. You have to have the inside story on tandoori chicken, as far as I am concerned. The photos certainly looked fantastic. I pinned it. I might have mentioned that the nearest Indian restaurant in my corner of the world is about 2 hrs away.
Love the clicks! And I love Tandoori chicken!
I <3 <3 <3 your photos. This chicken has to be one of the best looking one I have ever seen 🙂
Hello, I have some tandoori chicken marinating in the fridge, for a potluck.Unfortunately, the event is postponed by 3 days. Can I just freeze it , thaw later and grill it? Thanks.
No Unfortunately, the yogurt and hence marinade will be watery once you thaw it later. The taste will change too.
I would suggest, oven cooking the chicken till 80% cooked.Cool completely and then freeze it taking cake that the pieces do not touch each other.
On the day of potluck, grill the thawed chicken on high to get nice char marks and until its completely cooked through. You should be good to go.
Hope this helps
Thank you. I will do that.:)
Scrumptious! beautiful photography as well! Another recipe to add to my collection
Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe, it has become one of my favourites. Would it be a good idea to dry roast the ingredients in the marinade and then use to marinate chicken?
The taste of roasted spices is a bit different. Cannot say since I have never done it but definitely its a good idea to try.
Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe, it has become one of my favourites. Would it be a good idea to dry roast the ingredients in the second marinade and then use to marinate chicken?