Tandoori chicken is without a doubt one of my favourite indian dishes. When I find myself in an Indian restaurant for the first time I always find it hard not to order the tandoori chicken as a starter. Tender moist chicken, slightly charred in places and far from dry delicately spiced with a blend of masala and a zing of chilli really does take some beating.
The absolute key to making great tandoori chicken is to marinade the meat in two phases. The first marinade should last about 20-30 minutes maximum and will tenderise the chicken, making it moist and not as susceptible to drying out during cooking. The second marinade is yogurt based and contains the bulk of the spices which will flavour the meat. This second marinade should ideally last somewhere between 2 and 6 hours – any less and the flavours can’t penetrate the meat and any more and the proteins in the chicken tend to stiffen resulting in toughness.
- 6 skinless chicken breasts (or small legs)
1st Marinade (Garlic Ginger Paste) Ingredients
- 1 bulb of garlic
- 5 thumb size pieces of fresh ginger
- 3 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons of water
- 1 teaspoon of salt
2nd Marinade (Tandoori Mix) Ingredients
- 500g natural yogurt
- 3 teaspoons of hot red (Kashmiri) chilli powder
- 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon of ground coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon of besan (chickpea flour)
Making the marinade is relatively simple. Simply add the 1st marinade ingredients to a food processor and blend well to form a loose paste. Dice the chicken into small cubes and mix with the garlic/ginger paste in a bowl before leaving in the fridge for 20 minutes. Meanwhile mix the ingredients for the 2nd marinade in a bowl (to increase the flavour of the spices you can slightly toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a hot dry pan before grinding in a pestle and mortar). After 20-30 minutes add the marinaded chicken and again leave to rest in the fridge for 4-6 hours.