From North India, tandoori chicken is either served whole or as large chicken pieces to be eaten with a bread called naan. Both chicken and naan are baked in a clay oven, called a ‘tandoor’. Alternatively the chicken can be cooked in an oven or in a grill (a charcoal grill is the best for this!).
2 1/2 lb. large chicken pieces (legs, breast with bone)
2 tbsp rock salt
3/4 cup yoghurt
1/2 medium onion, peeled and quartered
7 garlic cloves
3/4 inch cube fresh ginger peeled and quartered
3 fresh hot green chili roughly sliced
2 tsp. garam masala
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
Orange food colouring
- A day before you plan to serve this dish, make two diagonal incisions, abut 1-inch long, on each side of the chicken pieces. The slits should be deep enough to reach the bone
- Spread the chicken pieces on a platter. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the salt, then squeeze the juice from three lemons quarters over them. Lightly rub the salt and lemon juice into the slits. Turn the chicken pieces over and do the same with the remaining salt and lemon juice. Set aside for 20 minutes
- In a food processor or blender, blend the yoghurt, onion, garlic, ginger, green chillies, garam masala and food colouring into a smooth paste
- Coat the chicken well with the marinade, making sure it penetrates the slits. Cover and refrigerate from 5 to 24 hours
- An hour before meal time, heat a charcoal grill until the coals become grayish on top and very hot.
- Arrange the chicken pieces 5 inches from the heat and grill each side for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chicken is just cooked through
- Baste frequently with the melted butter.
- Serve hot with naan, lime wedges, raw onion rings and fresh mint leaves