Monday, July 9, 2007

Tandoori Chicken – The Busy (Lazy?) American Version

Tandoori chicken gets is name from the clay oven it is traditionally cooked in, the Tandoor. The chicken is marinated in yogurt and an incredibly complex mix of spices, and then roasted in the extremely hot tandoor oven. The results are one of the world’s great culinary experiences.

Indian chefs spend hours carefully preparing their spices for this dish. Most make their own version of a “Garam Masala,” which translates to “hot spice.” There are literally thousands of variations, but the most common ingredients are; cumin, coriander, green cardamom seed and/or black cardamom pods, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, mace, dried hot chili peppers, sesame, mustard seeds, bay leaves, and turmeric.

To do this properly, the chefs buy whole seeds and pods of the various spices, carefully toast and/or roast them, and then grind them right before they're used. Some even grind them by hand using a mortar and pestle. Of course, we busy American cooks don’t have time for all that (or so we claim), but luckily we can buy pre-mixed Tandoori spice. Look for the words “Tandoori Spice” and/or “Garam Masala,” or as my package was labeled, “Tandoori Masala.”

These spice mixes are available at the major supermarkets (or specialty food stores, if you’re lucky enough to live near a large city), but can really vary in quality. Please make sure you check the label carefully, and that it contains most, if not all, of the spices listed above. Some of the cheaper, lower-quality versions are nothing more than hot pepper and turmeric.

Also, don’t feel bad if you don’t have a Tandoor clay oven sitting in the back yard. The good old Weber charcoal grill will work just fine, as you’ll see in today’s video recipe clip. By the way, this can be done using whole, cut-up chicken on the bone, but for speed and lower-fat content, I chose to use boneless, skinless thighs. Enjoy!



Ingredients:
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 1/2 tbl plain yogurt
1 1/2 tbl tandoori spice mix
1/2 lime, juiced
extra salt and hot pepper to taste

32 comments:

foofifofum said...

Gosh this looks soooooo good! Will give it a try as soon as I get the spice mix.

Anonymous said...

OMG that looks good!

Anonymous said...

What happened to the polled videos!? Looks good,I like that plate. :) You should check out this lady's blog, thefoodpornographer.com

Anonymous said...

How dare you call us American's lazy! I mean it's true, but how dare you! ;-)

Chef John said...

Hey I've done 2 of them! Thats 50%.... I will do the others eventually.

Kristen said...

That looks tasty!

Anonymous said...

hey chef john..join the next food network star, pleaseee! you'll do great =D

Online Recipe Collections said...

The looks alone is really yummy...

minniemouse59 said...

hi chef,
boy that really looks great can't to try it, by the way i love to grill its my first love and my second is cooking in the kitchen, so please more grilling videos, thanks,
minniemouse59

The D said...

Chef, have you thought about putting your posts on tastespotting.com ? If you haven't seen the site, it acts as a sort of food blog aggregator.

Stephanie said...

What is the reason behind choosing boneless chicken thighs as opposed to boneless chicken breasts?

Chef John said...

they have more fat and can take longer cooking times which works better for this recipe. You can use breasts, but just be careful not to dry them out.

anne said...

Woo hoo.... been looking for a tandoori chicken recipe. Looking forward to trying it.

Also looking forward to the sides you served with this. That was a beautiful plate.

(Sometimes I think I have a harder time with sides than main courses.)

Sage said...

I would love to see the recipes for the side dishes on the plate with that chicken.
Looks delicious!

Show Me The Curry said...

Great recipe Chef John!

SteamyKitchen said...

Love the video recipe. Nice cheater method!

Nicole from: For the Love of Food said...

I made your recipe last night - it was awesome! I had to tweak it a little - someone "stole" my limes...so I used lemon. I also don't have a grill, so I broiled it in my oven. I followed all your steps, including the one about spraying the wire rack, and it made such an amazing difference!!! I've never had such excellent oven-grilled chicken! Oh, and the spices were divine! I can't wait to try more of your recipes. I'll be blogging about this one soon!

Chef John said...

thanks, blog away!

SheDrummer said...

I did this a few nights ago and loved it. So easy yet exotic.

Anonymous said...

Hi!
I was thinking of trying this with skinless chicken breasts (with the bones in). Any tips or suggestions for making it this way?

Thanks

Chef John said...

it will work...just dont overcook. ;)

해영 said...

chef johns thanks for posting great recipts.
i admire not only your demonstration of marvelous cooking and your all the calm and gentle explnations for virtual viewers, including me.
i have a question. although living in apartment, i occasionaly dare to use weber grill like yours in empty balcony.
but once used hardwood charcoals, flame was too strong, but in your clip,there's not so much flames. is it brisquet charcoal?

Chef John said...

yes, thats what i use.

해영 said...

chef john! even though you used brisket for grilling this tandoori chicken, how can i see no flare-ups during your demonstration?
is there some secret for controlling all the flames or did you just edit this clip so that i cannot see any of those?

Chef John said...

I believe the major flare ups come from the fat from the skin. since this are skinless, I really didn't have a problem with that. Also, you can use the lid to keep down the flames.

LuvtheSpices said...

i luv this dish! Any indian party will have it, even served with fresh lime and cut onions.The onions make a difference though! anyways, its prounounced thundoori chicken not tundoori.... its kinda like the whole Xiaxe thingy

Chef John said...

Thunk You!

no1duzitbetta said...

My wife and I always at tax time like to prepare meals for the family that we don't get to try any other time through the year, this year I have planned to make Tandoori chicken and am still leaning heavily toward the purchase of my very own Tandoor, results you can soon follow http://www.no1duzitbettaoutoverdafire.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to put it out there that Garam Masala does literally mean Hot spices but not hot in the sense of spicy hot. Hot in the sense how they affect your body. Herbs and spices have different affects on your body. Some cool it down some heat it up. Mendhi for example cools ur body down which is why it is used in a wedding, to calm n cool the bride (sometimes the groom)from all the stress of preparing for a wedding. Excessive use of either cooling or heating spices isn't good. Garam masala is a combination of spices that have a heating effect on your body. By that I don't mean that you'll sweat after eating it. It's much more deeper than that.

Anonymous said...

I know not a lot of us have the option of using a tandoor for tandoori dishes but honestly an oven or a bbq cannot replicate the taste of a tandoor. It adds its own flavour, I dunno wut it is, possibly the clay? I am definitely looking into purchasing my own. They r expensive though :(

Anonymous said...

Hi chef,

Here is one of the best tandoori chicken made from scratch by an indian chef. He is funny too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsb311KiG1U

Megha said...

I am not sure if lot of you people have tried preparing Tandoori chicken in Frying pan.

See the recipe at http://dreamspopcorn.blogspot.com/2011/03/tawa-tandoori-chicken.html

Hope you like it!