This is to round up our Indian dinner we had the other night. As mentioned in the bhajia entry, our favorite Indian restaurant used to make very delicious moist tender Tandoori Chicken, but it has been hit and miss lately. We were told that there is a new chef joining the team, yet we sorta find it as very odd that all other dishes' quality remain the same, except the Tandoori Chicken! Oh well..it's not like we can't live without it ya know?
My quick history with Tandoori Chicken - well..would never thought of making it until I met Vik. That said, he is not at all an expert of Tandoori either. He just happen to have cravings for it once a while. One fine day when we were still dating, he decided that he'd make me Tandoori Chicken. Of all things he could have made, he had to pick not at all a 'beginner' recipe. I was somewhat terrified. Cooking is just not his forte. I still remember the second week after we just met, he and his best friend decided to cook and invited some friends over. At the time, I assumed they are pretty comfortable with cooking. It was until I got there and heard all these whispers in kitchen 'Hm...do you think this chicken is cooked?' 'I don't know..does it look like it?' 'Should we cut it and check?' 'Oh ewh..it is absolutely not done' OH MY GOODNESS!! Therefore, my panic when he said he'd made me Tandoori Chicken.
To give him some credit, he was smart enough to buy those instant mix. Yet as first timer, he just randomly picked one brand...how do I say this ... it was quite memorable, to say the least. We ate at the stoop of my apartment. His effort and thought made up for weird 'did not even look like tandoori chicken' Tandoori Chicken. It was hilarious - we got such a good laugh over it.
To prevent history repeats itself, here we go:
- about 6 of any skinless cuts of chicken (we both prefer thighs, but I often just mix them up - whatever there is in fridge.) I use 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs and 1 half breast, cut to 2 piece, rub quickly with lime juice.
- 1/2 cup of yogurt
- 1 small onions, quartered
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 inches ginger, minced
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 1/4 tbsp turmeric
- 2 tbsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp hot chili powder
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tbsp cumin powder
- 2 pods cardamom
- Whisk all the spices in yogurt together, including onions, garlic and ginger.
- Put chicken pieces in ziploc bag, pour the marinade on it. Zip up and 'knead' the bag to mix up chicken and yogurt mixture thoroughly.
- Place ziploc bag in fridge for overnight. Try to at least marinate it for 6 hours.
- Bake chicken covered with foil in 375 oven, for about 20 - 30 minutes.
- Uncovered and put it under broil to get the nice char on chicken. It's not like we can just buy a Tandoor from Williams-Sonoma, right? :)
- Squeeze more lemon juice on top of chicken before serving.
To get the familiar red of Tandoori Chicken, besides red food coloring, there are few other options: saffron thread or annatto seeds; which extract is used for cheese and butter coloring, I believe. Or, in my case, I just sprinkle some more paprika on top of chicken right before baking.