Tandoori Chicken

All right, folks. I am officially taking on Indian food. I present you today with my first Indian dish EVER: tandoori chicken. And it is damn simple. I tell you, I have been a fool not to try making this before, but, as always, it’s nice to have some assistance from one’s mother when venturing into unknown territory.

First things first, I bet at least some of you are wondering what tandoori chicken is. Well friends, this particular dish gets it name from the tandoor oven in which it is traditionally made. Its paste is made with a variety of chili powders and spices, and the resulting dish is a fiery red. You can use the marinade on other types of meat, but, in my opinion, chicken always turns out best, followed by pork. You can either bake the meat or cook it in a pan. I think it tastes great either way, but, for the purposes of this recipe/my being incredibly hungry that evening, I used a pan.

What makes this recipe fantastically easy is that you can buy tandoori paste in the store. Sure, you can make your own, but this stuff tastes just as good with a few modifications. And, at less than $4 for a bottle, one can easily have it on hand and ready to use at a minute’s notice. My mother prefers the variety manufactured by Patak, and that can be found in any Indian grocery store or in your local Giant/Safeway in the international food aisle (I’ve checked).

The chicken turned out incredibly moist; we ate it with a side of lemon rice (cook basmati rice; saute some shallots, add in your rice, and toss with cilantro and lemon over medium heat – also delicious in Chipotle-style burrito bowls). I hope you decide to try making Indian food as well; I know I’m quite happy that I did. Happy eating!

Tandoori Chicken
Recipe courtesy of my mother

Ingredients:

  • 1½ tablespoons ginger-garlic paste (recipe below)
  • 3 tablespoons jarred tandoori paste
  • ½ cup low-fat, plain  yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric 
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb chicken (I used dark meat, but you can use chicken breast)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil

Directions:

  • In a bowl, combine your ginger-garlic paste, tandoori paste, yogurt, chili powder, turmeric, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine, then toss in your cilantro.

 

  • Coat your chicken in the tandoori mixture.

  • At this point, you have two options. It tastes better if you allow the chicken to marinate overnight, but you can also cook it right away. If you opt to refrigerate it, I suggest doing so in a gallon-size Ziploc bag.
  • If you opt to cook it right away,  heat half of your oil in a nonstick skillet and cook half of your chicken. Cooking it in batches usually yields better results.

  • Serve warm.

Serves 6.

Ginger-Garlic Paste
As with most Indian mothers, mine opts not to measure things. A wee bit difficult when trying to record things for a food blog. So, I’m estimating here. 

Ingredients:

  • 1-inch piece of ginger, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra-hot, hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon shallots, minced
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Add all ingredients to a blender, blend.
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