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Chicken Tandoori Indian Street Style

Source: Shiva’s Flickr

For those palates enslaved to the flavorsome BBQ roasted food, you are in for a delight.

With various of my travel escapades I was fortunate to travel around the South Asia and try some of the best street foods from many famous eateries in various streets to name a few China town also famous as Yaowarat in Thailand (video), Satay by Bay in Singapore, Jalan Alor is a famous food street in Kuala Lumpur and Galle Road in Colombo Sri Lanka. Food has been always a weakness for me and out of all local street food,preparations by BBQ / smoked food has been my favorite kind.

Barbecue (informally barbeque, BBQ or barby/barbies) is both a cooking method and an apparatus. The generally accepted differences between barbecuing and grilling are cooking duration and the types of heat used. Grilling is generally done quickly over moderate-to-high direct heat that produces little smoke, while barbecuing is done slowly over low, indirect heat and the food is flavored by the smoking process.

Traditionally coal BBQ adds the Smokey earthy flavor to the meat or food being grilled. My love for BBQ preparations gained in over the years I lived in Delhi whose cuisine was influenced by the royals Mughals who were known for architecture, warfare and best of food delicacies.

Mughlai cuisine consists of dishes developed in Medieval India by the people of the Mughal Empire. It represents the cooking styles used in North India (especially Uttar Pradesh and Delhi), Pakistan (particularly among Muhajir people), and the Indian cities of Hyderabad and Bhopal. The cuisine is strongly influenced by Central Asian cuisine, the region where the Turco-Mongol Mughal rulers originally hailed from, and it has in turn strongly influenced the regional cuisines of modern India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The tastes of Mughlai cuisine vary from extremely mild to spicy, and are often associated with a distinctive aroma and the taste of ground and whole spices. A Mughlai course is an elaborate buffet of main course dishes with a variety of accompaniments. Mughlai cuisine also gave rise to the Awadhi cuisine of Lucknow.

The BBQ Chicken or Tandoori Chicken that I Love is bright red hunks of raw marinated chicken threaded onto massive four-foot long metal skewers, seeing those skewers lowered down into the fiery inferno of a 450°c clay tandoor oven, then after 15 minutes of fiery love they emerge as charred, smoky, tender, and juicy flavor bombs for your pallets.

Tandoori Chicken My Style

There are many versions to make Tandoori Chicken but in my signature recipe I have tweaked the ingredients and cooking style to suit quick marination and reduce cooking time. It is best served with lemon wedges and eaten with Tandoori Rotis or Naan (Indian Bread).This recipe is best if left to marinate at least 6 hours or if you are running less on time then 3 hrs. This Serves 4 Hungry Souls.

* 1.5 KG (3.3 lbs) chicken legs, clean, skinned and incision made to allow marinade soak in
* 1/2 cup plain yogurt
* 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic ( 4 cloves of garlic )
* 1 tablespoon peeled and grated or crushed ginger root (80 gm of ginger skinned )
* 1 tablespoon ground cumin
* 1 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
* 2 teaspoons salt, or according to taste
* Vegetable oil/ butter, for brushing
* Fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish
* 4 Green Thai chili


Step 1: Clean the chicken and remove skin to get rid of fats

Step 2: Use a sharp knife to make incisions all over chicken legs individually

make incisions all over the chicken

Step 3: Take Thai Chili, Peeled Garlic, Salt, Mince Ginger and mix 1 tsp of Lemon Juice to make a fine Fresh Green paste

Thai Chili, Garlic, Ginger Salt, Yogurt, Cilantro and Lemon Juice

Step 4: Add Lemon 3 tbsp. Lemon Juice to cut Chicken in a non corrosive or non reacting bowl , add the fresh green paste from last step, add 2 tbsp yogurt and 1 tbsp oil

Yogurt, Lemon Juice , Freshly Green paste, Chicken and Oil

Step 5: Mix 1 tablespoon ground cumin , 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper ,1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper, 2 teaspoons salt to the mix shown above.

Chicken Marinade prepared

Secret Tip: If Ingredients in Step 5 are hard to find or seems like a lot of work then go to a closest East Indian or Pakistani grocery store and look for Tandoori Chicken Masala or Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

Source: Shiva’s Flickr

Keep this Mix in fridge for 6 hrs or at least for 3 hrs for all the marinade to reach into the pores of Chicken.

Preparing BBQ station

After you have brushed off the grease from your previous BBQ session, take half red onion and  rub the juicy end of it all over the grill as it sanitizes the grill and adds to the smoky flavor to Tandoori Chicken.

Set a bowl of oil / butter to brush the chicken.

Heat BBQ at 450°c once it reaches this temperature set temperature / turn knob on low burner.

Now carefully lay Chicken pieces at 3 inch distance from each other so it gets optimum heat and flame.

Wait for chicken to turn light yellow and after 7 mins flip it, after brushing the top with oil/ butter.

The secret to mouth watering Tandoori Chicken is in when you rotate it in slow flame occasionally till it starts dripping juices out.

Once you it’s turns golden brown on both the ends , I usually shift it on the upper rack in BBQ allowing it to slow cook on heat.

Slow cook the chicken pieces to ensure it doesn’t hardens

Source: Shiva’s Flickr

Take a fork and do a poke test to see if it’s cooked on all the sides.

Once out of grill it will look like this golden brown in color.

Before serving I garnish the chicken with lemon juice and finely minced fresh cilantro.

Source: Shiva’s Flickr

Can’t wait any longer it is so tempting and my senses is elevated with the aroma of Tandoori Chicken..I’m hungry now..Best enjoyed with good company and Beer!!

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Chicken Tandoori Indian Street Style


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