Tandoori Chicken

The Tandoor or clay oven was one of the most common cooking contraptions, especially in Northern parts of India. The lack of a conventional oven never pinched local Indian cooks because the Tandoor or clay oven would do the job just as well, acting like an oven as well as a barbeque. Tandoori Chicken is a dry dish that is quite similar to barbeque chicken. In fact, the only difference between barbeque chicken and Tandoori Chicken would probably be the marinade or rub.

Tandoori Chicken is extremely spicy and although there is no gravy, the meat itself remains quite moist. Add a touch of lemon & coriander and the dish will hit a whole new level.

Ingredients required for Tandoori Chicken

Here is a list of the ingredients you need to get started:

- Skinless Chicken, segmented into large pieces (leave the bones in) - 1 (about 3 pounds)
- Vegetable oil or Clarified Butter - for basting during the cooking process
- Cilantro - few sprigs for garnish

For the Marinade:

- Yogurt - 1/2 Cup
- Fresh Lemon Juice or Malt Vinegar - 2 Tablespoons
- Minced Garlic - 1 Tablespoon
- Crushed Ginger - 1 Tablespoon
- Ground Cumin - 1 Tablespoon
- Ground Coriander - 1 Teaspoon
- Cayenne Pepper - 1/2 Teaspoon
- Ground Cardamom - 1/4 Teaspoon
- Ground Cloves - 1/4 Teaspoon
- Black Pepper - 1/4 Teaspoon
-Salt - as per your taste

Preparing the Ingredients for cooking

Tandoori Chicken is one of the favourite dishes for cooks and restaurants in Northern India simply because of the preparation time. Almost all the spices involved are in ground-format and everything else goes into making the marinade. If you are expecting a lot of guests or preparing for a big meal, this is a great dish that's filling, can be prepared beforehand and cooked in a jiffy:

- Mix all the ingredients of the Marinade and combine well
- Score the chicken pieces and prick with a fork all over to allow the marinade to seep in
- Coat the chicken pieces with the marinade and leave it marinating for at least 8-hours, under refrigeration and covered with cling film

As with all marinated dishes, the longer the chicken sits in the marinade, the more flavour it will take in. That allows you to prepare the dish well in advance, leaving it in to enhance the taste.

Let's start cooking our Tandoori Chicken

The chances of having a Tandoor or clay oven in your home are quite unlikely. However, you might have a barbeque or stove-top grill and that can work quite well in cooking the chicken. Make sure you heat it up nice and well as undercooked chicken can be quite dangerous:

- Take the chicken out of the marinade and gently squeeze out the excess marinade without really pressing the chicken
- Place the chicken on the grill and allow it to cook over direct heat
- Keep the chicken moist at all times by basting it with the oil or clarified butter
- Charring of the marinade and the chicken is quite natural so make sure you cook it until its juices run clear when you prick or cut the meat near a joint or bone
- Serve hot, garnished with Cilantro and a slice of lemon

Barbeque dishes are meant to be enjoyed outdoors, with the family and friend getting together for a great meal. However, just because it's a barbeque doesn't mean you need to stick to conventional burgers, hotdogs and steaks. Tandoori Chicken is just one of the many barbeque-dishes that you can incorporate into your plans and give a whole new twist to those wonderful sunny afternoons!

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