Tandoori Chicken has attained a distinction of being a most popular starter recipe across India and even globally. This dish had originated in Punjab during pre-independence era, and derives its name from large cylindrical clay oven known as “Tandoor”. Back then, community ovens were very popular and dishes like tandoori chicken, tandoori breads were made in those ovens. After independence, when folks from Punjabi community migrated to Delhi and other parts of country, they carried the culture of Community Ovens with them.
My tryst with tandoori chicken was a moment I cherish even now. During my school days, I was never exposed to restaurant food by my parents and it was an unchartered territory for me. During my secondary school exam vacation of 3 months, after which our results were expected to come, and a new journey would begin, I would go out with my friends every evening. We would settle at a particular Punjabi, Indo-Chinese eatery and dream with our open eyes about our future. During this period, my affluent friends with a bigger pockets gradually exposed me to several of those cuisines and that struck a chord with me. I remember those large drum shaped clay ovens kept outside the restaurant in the open and several whole chickens marinated with bare hands by a gentleman who worked for the restaurant. He was in his mid-thirties, and would make deep cuts on those whole chickens with a large knife and then drop them into bucket full of marinade. Whitish-yellow (skin) colored chickens would turn orange on their re-emergence from the marinade. He would deftly push a large iron skewers into whole of chicken putting them from one side and bringing them out from other. Several such chickens would be lined up neatly and then he would drop them tucked into skewers in those large clay ovens. The next few minutes would seem like an endless wait. Finally when the chicken would get cooked, he would pull them out from the skewers and ask us to repeat our orders. There were two forms in which tandoori chicken would be served, half and full. Half plate would be 4 pieces and naturally full would be 8. Depending upon number of friends, we would place our orders.
Over the year, we went to high school, engineering college and migrated to different cities for our jobs. But these memories have stayed with me. Tandoori Chicken is still one of my favorite starters. Today, we make an attempt to make this recipe in our kitchen, this has required us to go through several iterations and we seemed to have found a recipe that comes very close. Please be mindful of the fact that we have used the word “close”, because it is not possible to replicate the restaurant style tandoori chicken at home, with no access to clay ovens. These clay ovens are mighty beasts with temperature in them as high as 480°C. I do not have access to such high temperature in my convection oven and I believe not many people have such ovens at home. So what we can do is try to come close to restaurant tandoori chicken recipes.
Marination is the key for tandoori chicken recipe. A perfect marinade and leaving chicken soaked in that marination for a day would result into succulent and delicious chicken when cooked. Another key point to be aware of is basting. To keep meat moist during cooking, it is important to remove them from oven when they are half cooked and coat chicken pieces with layer of butter on both sides. Put them back for remainder of cooking time. This ensures that chicken does not dry out and stays moist. Enjoy this dish with Dahi Pudina Chutney
Follow this recipe and let us know how your version of restaurant style tandoori chicken turned out. You can share your feedback in the comment section below.
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- 4 chicken legs(approx 800 grams).Make gashes on the chicken legs.
- 1 cup strained yogurt.
- 1 medium sized onion grated
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour (maida)
- 3 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
- 2 tbsp kasuri methi(dried fenugreek leaves)
- 2 tsp red chili powder
- 1 tsp garam masala powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp roasted cumin seeds powder
- 1 tsp tandoori masala
- 1 and ½ tsp dry mango powder
- pinch of orange food color
- 3 tbsp cooking oil
- Heat 3 tbsp oil in a pan.Put grated onion in the pan.
- Fry Onions in the pan until it turns golden brown in color.
- Onions become golden brown in about 3 mins.Turn off the flame.Allow them to cool completely.
- Prepare for marination.In a large bowl, put strained yogurt.All Purpose Flour (Maida), Ginger-Garlic Paste,Kasuri Methi, Garam Masala,Red chili powder, Tandoori Masala powder,Coriander Powder, Dry Mango Powder,Cumin seeds powder, orange food color,Salt.
- Mix all the ingredients nicely to form marinade.
- Now add fried onion along with leftover oil.Mix them well.
- Coat Chicken leg pieces with the marinade.Cover the bowl with a cling wrap.
- Refrigerate for at least 8 hour or preferably for 24 hours.
- After 24 hours of Marination.
- Keep the chicken at room temperature for 30 mins.
- Pre-Heat oven at 180 °C
- Arrange chicken legs on low rack.
- Leave the leg pieces on low rack for few mins so that the extra marinade can drip down.
- Put the leg pieces in the pre-heated oven (180°C). Set the timer for 25 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, remove the leg pieces from oven and baste them with butter.
- Flip them over and baste with butter from other side.
- Put them back for remaining 10 minutes.
- Grill the chicken on "Grill Mode" for 5 minutes.
- This provides a browned and charred look from outside.
- Tandoori Chicken can be served with Dahi Poodina Chutney.
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