I’m a big fan of Indian food. I grew up on it so it’s in my blood. Homestyle Indian, mind you. Not what you get in restaurants. Tandoori chicken was always going on. It’s the Indian equivalent of a backyard barbecue. That’s why I don’t understand why it’s never very good in restaurants. My parents had a backyard grill. Restaurants have a tandoor oven. They should win. Makes no sense.
Maybe it’s because my parents cooked over charcoal. Maybe it’s a happy filter I put on my childhood. I don’t know. But I do know I can make better tandoori chicken at home and so can you. Charcoal grills help a lot. It will work with gas but it won’t have that charcoal magic to push it over the top.
- 1 3-4 lb chicken
- tandoori marinade -
- 1 Tbsp cumin powder
- 1 Tbsp corriander powder
- 2 tsp hot curry powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 Tbsp dried fenugreek leaves aka kasoor methi
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp mint sauce
- 2 tsp mild kashmiri chili powder
- 1 Tbsp chopped coriander leaf/stem
- 1 Tbsp Patak's tandoori paste optional
- 1 Tbsp garlic ginger paste
- 3 Tbsp oil
- 4-6 Tbsp water to make a runny paste
- pinch red food colouring
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Combine all the ingredients except the water and the lemon juice.
- Add water, a bit at a time until you get a consistency like the picture.
- Marinate meat at least an hour and up to 12. Add the lemon juice just before cooking.
- Cut the chicken into 10 pieces. Quarter the chicken. Cut the drumstick from the thigh. Cut the wings off the breasts. Halve the breasts. Remove the skin from the breasts, drumsticks and thighs. Leave the skin on the wings.
- Combine tandoori marinade with chicken. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.
- Light your grill. Build a two zone fire if using charcoal. Turn one burner to high and another to low if using gas.
- Remove chicken from marinade.
- Grill the chicken over indirect heat until almost done - around 20-25 minutes. This depends on how hot your grill is so use your instant read thermometer and cook to about 155F.
- Brush with a bit of oil or ghee.
- Move the chicken over direct (high) heat and grill an additional 2-4 minutes, turning every minute. You want a bit of char but you don't want it to burn or dry out.
- Find dried fenugreek leaf or kasoor methi at any Indian food store. It's a key flavour to many indian dishes so if you like to cook Indian, it's good to have on hand.
- I used food colouring for this marinade. Other than colour it adds nothing. It's messy as well and you have to use gloves to handle the chicken. I normally leave it out.
- If you don't have, or can't get a mild kashmiri chili powder, substitute 1/2 tsp cayenne plus 1 1/2 tsp paprika.
- This marinade makes enough for one chicken plus four chicken thighs.
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