Tandoori Chicken is said to be the most popular dish in India, you can easily find Indians barbecuing this. If you ever plan to visit India be sure to try this awesome dish and I am pretty sure you will love it. Besides if you don’t have any plans no issues you are here and you can cook that at your home. Make sure you will be needing a lot of spices as spices are the key to prepare great food in India.
Basically what is Tandoori? It has tandoor which means a large clay oven where long skewers of meat or poultry are cooked to perfection and where deliciously and fluffy naans are cooked. You can’t have a tandoor at your primises as it occupies a lot of space but you can pile up a few blocks of bricks and create a miniature of it which can be used as a replica. Right we will be using a simple oven to cook it up but if you grill it then its much better.
Homemade Tandoori Chicken
yields: 6lbs chicken drumsticks
6lbs chicken drumsticks
2 cups plain yogurt
1/2 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 cup red onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup beet, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 inch piece ginger root, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon green cardamom seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons turmeric powder
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
12 black peppercorns
1 tablespoon paprika
12 whole cloves
4 dried red chilies (I used Kashmiri chilies but feel free to use any spicy kind you prefer/you can also substitute with 5-6 fresh red/green thai chili peppers)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
extra lemons for serving
1. Remove any skin from the chicken, rinse under cold water and pat them dry with a clean paper towel. Make two deep slits across the flesh of each chicken drumstick and keep aside in a large mixing bowl.
2. Using a food processor/blender/immersion blender, pulse all the ingredients from the yogurt to the salt until completely smooth. Pour the marinade over the chicken and coat the meat evenly. Cover with cling film and allow to marinade in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours (maximum overnight) before cooking. (At this point you can do what I did if you don’t want to cook all 6 lbs of chicken, I divided the marinaded chicken after 2 hours and froze half of it in a ziploc bag, the rest I kept to marinate).
3. Place one wire rack in the middle of the oven and another rack closest to the top and preheat to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place about 6 pieces of the chicken drumstick about an inch apart from each other. Pour about 1-2 tablespoons of the left over marinade from the chicken over each piece of meat and cook in the oven on the middle rack for about 30 minutes, turning the chicken pieces over half-way through the cooking. The chicken is cooked when the internal temperature reaches 160F. At this stage, immediately switch the broiler on and transfer the rack with the chicken to the top shelf. Broil for about 3-5 minutes until the chicken pieces get slightly charred. Remove the chicken drumsticks and place in a plate, cover and allow to rest for 2-3 minutes before serving. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the tandoori chicken before serving. Cook the rest of the tandoori chicken drumsticks and serve similarly.