Tandoori Chicken is one of the tastiest recipes of the spectacular Indian cuisine. The name refers to the enormous ceramic oven in which the meat (the tandoor) is roasted and the mixture of spices of this impressive gastronomic tradition (Tandoori Masala). It is one of the star dishes of Indian cuisine. A fusion of traditions that combines the combination of spices from the subcontinent and the yogurt that was introduced by the Mongol invaders.
A trip through India and its incredible places is always wonderful and full of adventures. Without hesitation, the Taj Mahal has been the monument that has impressed me most in life. It appears as if from nowhere, after crossing a building without any splendor that is no more than the entrance to this majestic building, as white and dazzling as a brilliant one. It seems incredible that a funerary monument can be so beautiful. Or maybe because it is a tribute to the beloved woman, it is so extremely beautiful. India is such a large country that it is not only worth the Taj Mahal.
At that time I did not know what a blog was, but we already liked to eat, hahaha. And one of the most outstanding things about India is, precisely, its gastronomy. I flew to New Delhi. I remember leaving the airport on an old ambassador running through the gloom of dusty streets full of dirt. There was the adrenaline rush for the first time in that place.
From Delhi, I went to the state of Himachal Pradesh, to the Indian Himalayas. In Shimla, the old summer capital of the "Raj", I ate my first Tandoori chicken. It was delicious, spicy, tender, reddish and roasted in a traditional tandoor oven.
The tandoor is a cylindrical clay oven heated by charcoal. It is very popular in all cuisines of northern India, especially in Punjab. It is used to roast meats or fish pricked on long metal rods, or to bake bread, such as naan, which "stick" to the walls. The interior of the oven can reach more than 450 degrees centigrade. So at home, it is difficult to achieve anything even like it.
The secret of any "tandoori" dish is to marinate the food as long as possible in a mixture of spices and yogurt. In this way, the meat acquires a delicious flavor and it becomes much more tender. Actually, people prepare two marinades. A short one with garlic-ginger and lime, and the second with all the spices. In most restaurants, the chicken arrives at the table with a red color.
It is easy to make, quick and, above all, very tasty. Spices and yogurt are the secrets of this recipe, which, according to tradition, arrived in the Indian subcontinent hand in hand with the Mongolian invaders. The most traditional way of this recipe incorporates a large amount of turmeric, which gives the meat a vivid orange color.
The tandoori masala is no more than a mixture of spices, which depending on the geographical area in which it is made can lead to different preparations. Among its most common ingredients, we can find cumin, fenugreek, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, cayenne, pepper, ginger, clove, garlic, bay leaf, turmeric, fennel, nutmeg, celery, salt, lemon and oil among others. Although as I have said before we can find many different mixtures.
In many versions, red and yellow food dyes are sometimes used to obtain more intense colors. However turmeric powder is soft and at the same time has a strong color, just like paprika. It is moderately spicy in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India, although in Western countries it is prepared milder. In the original version Cayenne pepper, paprika or Kashmiri pepper powder are used to give it its strong characteristic red color. If a lot of turmerics is added, the chicken takes an orange color. In some modern versions, they are dyed yellow and green.
You can accompany it with some type of Indian bread, and slices of tomato and red onion. To me, from always, I love the spicy and the spices. If you do not like it you're lost! As we were on our own, we had the great advantage of choosing where to go and, above all, where to eat. So we avoided the restaurants for tourists of international food to which the agencies take you. We ate in local restaurants.
History of Tandoori Chicken
The history of the origin of this dish is found in a man named Kundan Lal Gujral, who ran a restaurant in Peshawar before the partition of British India. Trying to create new recipes to keep the interest of his employers, Gujral tried to cook the chicken in a tandoor, which was used by the local people only to cook naan (bread). In the tandoor, high temperatures are reached and Gujral was able to cook the chickens in that clay oven, cooking them succulently inside and crispy on the outside.
After the partition in 1947, Punjab was divided with an eastern part within India and a western part within Pakistan. Peshawar became part of Pakistan and Gujral dealt with many refugees fleeing the riots and moving to India. Finally, Gujral moved his restaurant to New Delhi in a place called Daryaganj.
The fame of tandoori chicken has led to other dishes known as chicken tikka (which became popular in Great Britain as Chicken Tikka Masala). Tandoori chicken can be found in most Indian restaurants around the world.