Tandoori Chicken in the Oven
I have till date avoided making kebabs because I do not own a charcoal grill and while my oven makes delicious grilled chicken I somehow cannot fathom the idea of kebabs without the smoky taste. In the past I have tried using the method where you take a piece of charcoal and heat it up and then put that in a bowl add a few drops of oil or clarified butter and put this with the food you want to smoke covering it. Well to be fair that is nowhere close to a charcoal grill.
Anyway its wonderful to have friends who know exactly what would make you happy and so when Pritha who blogs from Guilt Free gifted me the book , 'On the Butter Chicken Trail' by Monish Gujral from the house of 'Moti Mahal Deluxe' the very restaurant which has supposedly created butter chicken I was ready with my ladle , spoon and spices.
Anyway point is I am quite neurotic when it comes to spice blends. I make my own and do not recall having ever bought garam masala or spcie mix for any dish ever. Sowhen I saw the recipe for Tandoori masala it somehow clicked and then I saw the recipe for Tandoori chicken and I must say that I immediately wanted to make it.
I had all the ingredients at home and so there I was dry roasting the spices so Tandoori chicken to be cooked the next day. Not just that I do not use colour in food on principle and since the recipe did not use any food colour that was just an added excitement for me.
Now I did have to adjust the oven time quite a bit since the original recipe calls for a clay tandoor and even though the book has a method given for oven having made grilled chicken a lot of times the time given seemed way too little and so I adjusted the time and in the end it was juicy succulent spicy tandoori which I made 3 times in the span of a week and I have to say this recipe is for keeps. I did cut down the recipe for tandoori masala quite a bit and even then I have a small jar full of tandoori masala.
The Tandoori garam masala
50gm cumin seeds
50gm coriander seeds
15gm rose petals
10gm black pepper powder
1 tsp green cardamom
2 whole black cardamom
1.5 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Dry roast all the spices on low heat making sure it doesn't burn and then cool and grind to a fine powder. Store in an air-tight jar.
Recipe adapted from On the Butter Chicken Trail
For the tandoori chicken
800gm whole skinless chicken
For the first marination
1.5 tsp salt
2 tbsp lemon juice
1.5 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder
For the second marination :-
200gm curd made into hung curd
2.1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp kashmiri red chili powder
1 heaped tsp tandoori garam masala
3/4th tsp kasoori methi
Melted butter or Clarified butter or mustard oil for basting
Joint the chicken making 4 pieces. Two legs + thigh and cut the breast in half bone in . Wash , pat dry make 3 deep slits on the breasts and 2 slits on each side of the legs and 3 little cuts at the joint of the leg. Marinate with the ingredients mentioned in the list of ingredients for first marination and let the chicken marinate for 1 hour. In the meantime make hung curd from the 200gm curd by tying it up in a muslin cloth and removing the watery bit.
For your second marination marinate the chicken and leave it aside for 3 hours. In the original recipe a bit of rock salt is added but I hadn't used it for the second marination.
Preheat oven to 180C in grill mode heating both the rods .
While the oven gets preheated boil some water. Once the oven is preheated place the rack on which you are grilling the meat on the top most part of the oven and place a tray beneath is with a bowl of water on the tray. This creates steam and ensures that your chicken is thoroughly cooked. Grill for 10 minutes turning the chicken midway and then take the bowl out and increase the temperature to 230C and grill for another 15 minutes basting with the clarified butter or melted butter or mustard oil every 8 minutes and turning the chicken.
If you want a smoky flavour just heat a piece of coal and place it in a bowl , add a few drops of clarified butter or mustard oil or melted butter and put it on the tray for the last five minutes of grilling.
Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes and then serve juicy succulent delicious chicken. What I loved was how juicy and moist the chicken breast was since chicken breast is notorious for turning out too dry if overcooked.