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Behind The Cooking of Tandoori Chicken

Indian cuisine consists of a wide variety of regional and traditional cuisines native to the Indian subcontinent. Given the range of diversity in soil type, climate, culture, ethnic groups, and occupations, these cuisines vary substantially from each other and use locally available spices,herbs, vegetables, and fruits. Indian food is also heavily influenced by religion, in particular Hindu, and cultural choices and traditions. Also, Middle Eastern and Central Asian influences have occurred on North Indian cuisine from the years of Mughal rule. Indian cuisine is still evolving, as a result of the nation’s cultural interactions with other societies. Tandoori chicken was invented by Kundan Lal Gujral, a Punjabi Hindu, who is the founder of the Moti Mahal Delux restaurant. Gujral founded the restaurant in the Peshawar area of pre-partition India, which is now in Pakistan.

In the United States, tandoori chicken began appearing on menus by the 1960s. Jacqueline Kennedy was reported to have eaten “chicken tandoori” on a flight from Rome to Bombay in 1962. A recipe for tandoori chicken was printed in the Los Angeles Times in 1963, for the hostess in search of a fresh idea for a party dinner a similar recipe was featured in the same newspaper in 1964, along with other chicken dishes from world cuisines.

Tandoori chicken is chicken dish prepared by roasting chicken marinated in yoghurt and spices in a tandoor, a cylindrical clay oven. It is a popular dish from the Indian subcontinent and has become popular in other parts of the world through restaurants serving food from the Indian subcontinent.

The raw chicken is marinated in a mixture of yogurt and the spice tandoori masala. Cayenne pepper, red chili powder or Kashmiri red chili powder is used to give it a fiery red hue. A higher amount of turmeric produces an orange colour. In milder versions, both red and yellow food colouring are sometimes used to achieve bright colours, but turmeric powder is both mild and brightly coloured, as is paprika, a sweet red pepper powder.

The marinated chicken is placed on skewers and cooked at high temperatures in a heated clay oven known as the tandoor. It is heated with charcoal or wood which adds to the smoky flavour.

The dish can also be cooked in a standard oven, using a spit or rotisserie, or over hot charcoal.

Tandoori chicken can be eaten as a starter or appetiser, and as a main course, the latter with naan (an Indian flatbread).It is also used as a base chicken in numerous cream-based curries such as butter chicken.

Tandoori chicken was popularised in post-independent India by Moti Mahal Delux in Delhi when it was served to the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. After that Tandoori chicken became a standard offering at official banquets.

The fame of tandoori chicken led to many derivatives, such as chicken tikka (and eventually the Indian dish popularised in Britain, chicken tikka masala), commonly found in menus in Indian restaurants all over the world.

Tandoori Chicken

Turkey Bhoona Recipe

Turkey Bhuna

Ever been stuck with leftovers and no inspiration but the turkey sandwich? Indian food doesn’t have to be hard to make and our leftover turkey recipe is just the example of home Indian cooking you’ve been looking for.

Turkey Bhoona (serves 2)

250gm left over shredded turkey

2 chopped onions (medium size)

1 chopped tomato (medium size)

2tbs cooking oil

½ tsp garlic paste

½ tsp ginger paste

½ tsp chili powder

½ tsp ground turmeric

½ tsp cumin powder

¼ tsp ground white pepper

1 tsp ground coriander

1tsp paprika powder

½ tsp garam masala powder

2-3 green chilies, chopped (to taste)

50ml water

Salt to taste

Freshly chopped coriander for garnish

1. Heat the pan and pour in the oil. Add chopped garlic when the oil is hot and add the chopped onion when the garlic is brown. Sauté for about 2 minutes or until the oil comes out of the onion and is clear. Then add the green chilies and chopped tomatoes with a little salt and stir. Place all the ground spices in a small bowl, add a little water and mix it into a paste. Add the paste to the onion and stir well ensuring it doesn’t set at the bottom. Add the leftover turkey and stir for a few minutes to mix well. Finally, add around 50ml water and cook on low heat keeping it covered for about 5-7mins. Keep stirring from time to time to ensure it doesn’t settle at the bottom.

2. Simmer on low heat until the turkey is well covered by the spices.

3. Remove from heat and sprinkle the chopped coriander.

4. Serve with either rice, naan bread or as a spicy sandwich filler.


Bon Appetite!