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Thursday, 14 April 2011

Tandoori Chicken

When he was a litle boy of nine or ten, my uncle had a dream. He dreamed that growing right outside his bedroom window was a Tandoori Chicken tree. It was a splendid tree, that tree of his dreams, tall and green, boasting plentiful Tandoori Chickens from it's strong, broad branches. And in his dream, my uncle was reaching outside his window, breaking off pieces of chicken and eating them. So hungry was my uncle and so resplendent was the tree that he continued to do this all night long..."I was breaking them and eating them, breaking them and eating them, breaking them and eating was the best dream I ever had!"


Well, sadly enough, I don't think that dream will ever become a reality (sorry uncle!) but in the absence of trees that grow Tandoori Chicken, I suppose we could try and make some!

I have a few friends coming over for lunch tomorrow, and what better than some delicately spiced, perfectly barbequed chicken, hot and crisp on the outside, tender on the inside. I decide to marinate my chicken overnight so I can cook it tomorrow when I get up, well in time for lunch!

Here's how I make my marinade:

- 1 cup of natural yoghurt
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon (about 6 cloves) fresh crushed garlic
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin powder (jeera)
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander powder (dhanya)
- 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red turmeric powder (haldi)
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 pinch red colouring (optional)
- Salt, to taste

I take a large shallow, oven-safe dish and mix all the ingredients together into a smooth paste. For my chicken, I use 4 chicken legs, 4 chicken thighs, 3 chicken breasts, all skinned and cut into large pieces. I add the chicken to the dish, making sure every piece is well coated with the marinade. I then cover the dish and leave it in the fridge overnight for all those flavours to really soak in.

Tomorrow morning, when I am ready to cook my chicken, I will pre-heat my oven to its highest setting. I will place my dish of marinated chicken in the oven for 25 minutes. I will then turn over the pieces, reduce the oven heat to 120°C and cook my chicken until the juices run clear and the meat is tender.
I will serve my Tandoori Chicken with a wedge of lime, accompanied by some Naan and some cooling Mint Raita for a simple, relaxed and yummy lunch with friends! Can't wait!!
Guess what I'm going to be dreaming of tonight??
Goodnight and Sweet Dreams!

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