The vibrant striking orange and partially dark brown colour chicken from North India is a famous non-vegetarian snack, relished in several other countries. Owing to its smoky delightful charred aroma, tender texture complete with drooling spicy flavours, innumerable restaurants in India, as well as in other countries like Dubai, America, London, etc., has incessantly impressed food lovers. People tasting the tandoori chicken, crave to have more as its luscious unique taste sticks to the palate just like the masala sticks to the chicken perfectly.
The Tandoor & The Masala
The “Tandoor” is the clay oven where the tandoori chicken is cooked. It is shaped like a bell or cylinder and heated with wood or charcoal burning at the base (inside the clay pot), to reach a temperature up to 480 degrees Celsius, i.e., 900 Fahrenheit.
The chicken is marinated for several hours with a nice coating of “The Masala” before being cooked in the oven. The masala is a spice mixture including 10 or more spice powders such as garlic, coriander, cloves, cumin, black pepper, chilli etc. mixed in a creamy texture with fine quality home-made curd. The marinating process in significant and cannot be skipped. It helps the spice flavours & scent get into the chicken pieces while the yoghurt softens the chicken.
The marinated chicken pieces are slipped in an iron rod, which is placed in the middle of the clay pot for roasting. The succulent chicken pieces are served with a tangy salad side, a slice of lemon and some green chutney. The chutney is usually made with fresh mint, coriander leaves, some green chillies, a squeeze of lemon, and a pinch of salt.
Innovative Ways of Eating Tandoori Chicken
The Tandoori Chicken is mostly had like a snack to go with a mug of beer. Although, there are some fun ways to enjoy tandoori chicken:-
Rolled Up: Remove the tandoori chicken from its bones and shred into small pieces. Stuff it in the tortillas or flatbreads; add some fresh tomato, cucumber, onions, and, a squeeze of ketchup/mayonnaise or your favourite sauce! Relish as a breakfast or odd-hour quick bite.
Salad Topping: To spice up the salad add some chopped pieces of tandoori chicken, a spoon of lemon juice, your preferred fresh leaves, herbs, cherry tomatoes and some salt seasoning! Give it a light toss and enjoy a healthy salad.
Rice Stir-fry: For those who love some steamed rice can stir up a yummy bowl in minutes. Add a dollop of butter in the pan, add the cooked rice, season with salt & pepper, and add the tandoori chicken pieces. Mix for a minute and serve. The steaming warm soft white rice tastes amazing with the smoky chicken pieces.
Skinless tandoori chicken in limited portions is great to incorporate in the daily diet routine. They provide the necessary protein for the day while being low-fat and extremely delicious. Therefore, tandoori chicken is a fabulous healthy cuisine that fills the mouth with an interesting burst of spicy, tangy, salty, and smoky flavours.