Classic tandoori chicken from India is marinated in yogurt, lemon juice, and plenty of spices, then grilled or broiled. Plan ahead. This recipe needs to marinate at least 8 hours or overnight. Cooking time: 45 minutes. This recipe yeilds 4 servings.
Recipe for Tandoori Chicken
- 1 (3-pound) chicken, cut into serving pieces, skinned and trimmed of all visible fat
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or malt vinegar
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon peeled and grated or crushed ginger root
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
- Vegetable oil, for brushing
- Fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish
- Slices of cucumber, red (Spanish) onion, tomato and lemon, for garnish
- Prick the flesh of the chicken all over with a fork. Then, using a sharp knife, cut slashes in the flesh to allow the marinade to penetrate. Place the chicken in a nonreactive large, shallow dish.
- In a nonreactive bowl, combine the yogurt, lemon juice or vinegar, garlic, ginger, cumin, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, cardamom, cloves, black pepper and salt. Stir until well-mixed, then pour the mixture over the chicken and rub it into the flesh, turning the chicken several times. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. (Do not marinate for longer than 2 days.) Remove the chicken from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking.
- The chicken may be grilled or roasted. If using a charcoal grill, prepare a fire for direct-heat cooking. Position the grill rack 5 inches from the fire. Allow the coals to burn until white ash covers them and the heat is moderate.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade, pressing lightly to extract excess marinade, and brush with oil. Place the chicken pieces on a well-oiled grill rack and; grill, covered, with the vents open, turning 3 or 4 times, 45 minutes or until the juices run clear when a piece is pierced near the bone with a knife.
- If roasting, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan, brush with oil, and cook, turning once, 25 to 30 minutes until the juices run clear when a piece is pierced near the bone with a knife.
- Serve with sprigs of cilantro and slices of cucumber, red onion, tomato, and lemon.
Source: Savoring India by Julie Sahni (Williams-Sonoma/Oxmoor)
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