CHICKEN TANDOORI, FROM THE MONGOL EMPIRE TO YOUR MOUTH
Tandoori chicken is a very spicy roast chicken recipe. Whose origins date back to the Mongol Empire. Although this dish has had a very important evolution until it became the red and crispy chicken of today.
History of Chicken Tandoori
In the Mongolian version, chicken tandoori was a roast chicken, marinated with yogurt and spices. With the use of yogurt and spices, a double benefit was obtained. The acidity of the yogurt helped preserve the meat. And the seasonings gave it an exceptional flavor.
But, the current version of Chicken Tandoori is very crispy. Chicken acquires this crispy texture when cooked in a clay oven called a "tandoor". This oven is generally used to cook bread. The tandoor reaches very high temperatures. That seal the meat on the outside, and keep the inside juicy. This cooking together with its striking red color gives the famous look to Chicken Tandoori.
This new cooking method was introduced in Punjab. By Chef Kundan Lal Gujral, before the separation from British India. Gujral, was a pioneer cooking chickens in the tandoor, which was only used to make bread naans.
Today it is usually associated only with Indian cuisine. Although it is also a popular dish in Pakistan. The origin of the current version is before the partition of 1947. Where Punjab was divided into two parts, leaving a part of the territory within Pakistan and another within India. Thus, it is a dish that both countries share.
Seasonings for Chicken Tandoori
The recommended seasoning for this chicken is Tandoori Masala. Tandoori Masala is not a condiment itself. More properly, it is a mixture of different condiments. Nor is there a precise formula for its preparation. There are many variations, even familiar to make the Tandoori Masala.
The main seasonings it contains are: garam masala, ginger powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, cardamom, garlic powder, onion powder, and coriander powder. Cayenne pepper gives chicken tandoori its characteristic red color.
There are people who prefer a more intense red color and add vegetable coloring or paprika powder in abundant quantities. It all depends on the visual taste of each person because these ingredients do not alter the flavor of the chicken. We add two tablespoons of tomato paste to accentuate the red color.
Technique for cooking Chicken Tandoori
As we explained before, this chicken has as one of its main characteristics, the fact that it is very crunchy. This is because it is cooked in the tandoor oven. Yet, most people do not have such an oven available at home.
But “tandoor style” cooking can be simulated with a traditional oven. For this, it is necessary to preheat the oven to most temperature at least half an hour before introducing the chicken. Cook it at most temperature for ten minutes. And then lower the temperature to the least and cook it for another hour, so that the meat cooks well inside. This will give you a chicken that is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.
CHICKEN TANDOORI, FROM THE MONGOL EMPIRE TO YOUR MOUTH
4 chicken thighs, with skin, and with bone, 1 kg
4 cloves of garlic
2 red onions
2 tablespoons of oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 cup of Greek yogurt, 240 ml
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 fresh ginger root
Salt to taste
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons of ground paprika
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the Tandoori Masala
The first step is to prepare the garlic and ginger. Peel the garlic and crush it, or failing that, cut it into tiny pieces. Regarding ginger, it must be peeled and grated, until the content of one tablespoon is completed. Peel the onions, and cut them into quarters. If you have a way to grind coriander seeds, this is the time to do it. The same goes for the cayenne pepper.
Prepare the chicken. If you have skin, you should remove it because tandoori sauce is better absorbed without the skin. And, since the idea is that it absorbs the tandoori sauce, you can pierce the meat of the chicken a little with a fork, or discreetly with a knife.
In a large bowl, place the tandoori spices: cumin, paprika, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt. Stir all the spices with a fork.
Add the yogurt, tomato paste, ginger powder, crushed garlic, lime juice, oil, and salt. Stir until the mixture is completely homogeneous. After having the marinade ready, we are going to submerge the chicken and make sure that it is well covered with tandoori masala sauce on absolutely its entire surface. Avoid lumps of any of the seasonings.
Place the chicken pieces in the container with the tandoori sauce, and rub the chicken with the sauce until the chicken is completely covered in the red cream. Then, cover the container and leave the chicken to marinate for at least four hours in the fridge. Ideally, the marinade should last at least eight hours.
Preheat the oven to 200 ° C (400 ° F). Meanwhile, remove the chicken from the fridge. Spread a baking sheet with a little oil. Then arrange the chicken pieces in an orderly fashion next to each other. Top them with plenty of tandoori sauce. Finally, arrange the onion pieces where there is room.
Put the tray with the chicken in the oven for about ten minutes. Then remove it from the oven, and flip the chicken. Always cover it with sauce. Cook them for ten more minutes over high heat.
Next, lower the temperature to 100 ° C (200 ° F). Cook the chicken for about thirty to forty more minutes.
Remove from oven and serve immediately. You can serve this chicken with naan bread, yogurt sauce, and salad.