Tandoori chicken

Tandoori chicken

By
From
Margaret Fulton Favourites
Serves
4-5
Photographer
Tanya Zouev and Armelle Habib

When on a visit to Kashmir in northern India, my friends and I came upon a group of holidaymakers from Bombay. They were travelling with their own cook, who had a portable tandoor oven. Most days he would make naan bread: the dough would be rolled into balls, flattened by hand and then slapped onto the walls of the hot tandoor. The naan was ready when it bubbled and blistered. Meats and poultry on long skewers were also cooked in the searing tandoor and knowing when to take them out was an art in itself.

The bright red-orange colour of meats cooked in the tandoor traditionally comes from a natural but flavourless dye called tandoori rang. This version of tandoori chicken gets its rich russet colour from saffron and a few drops of cochineal.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 size 18 chicken, split into halves
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups natural yoghurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon paprika
90g ghee or butter, melted
fresh coriander leaves, to garnish
lemon wedges, for serving

Tandoori mix

Quantity Ingredient
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground chillies
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
a good pinch saffron threads or powdered saffron
a few drops cochineal, (optional)

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients for the tandoori mix and set aside. Skin the chicken and make slashes in the flesh for the marinade to penetrate. Combine the salt, ginger, tandoori mix, yoghurt, lemon juice and paprika in a wide glass or china dish. Add chicken and turn to coat thoroughly with the marinade. Cover and chill for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a baking dish with a double sheet of aluminium foil and arrange the chicken halves, breast-side up, on it. Drizzle with melted ghee or butter and roast for 20 minutes. Turn chicken pieces over and continue cooking for another 15 minutes. Turn them again and cook breast-side up for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Baste the chicken frequently during cooking with the melted ghee and fat from the pan. Cut into large jointsized pieces.
  3. Garnish the chicken with coriander leaves and serve with lemon wedges, onion rings and warmed naan bread.

Tip

  • One of the secrets of tandoori chicken is the yoghurt marinade — the longer the chicken is left in the marinade, the more authentic the finished dish will be.
Tags:
Margaret
Fulton
Favourites
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