Tandoori chicken is a is a specialty dish of Punjab (NorthWest India) but is now popular throughout the country and in Indian restaurants abroad. Tandoori chicken is traditionally cooked in clay oven called tandoor, but it can be prepared in conventional oven or on charcoal grill. A tandoor is a large round deep clay oven that has a lid rather than a door. Hot coals or charcoal is placed in the bottom to heat it.
During my 2006 trip to Chennai, I dined at Peshawari in Chola Sharaton Chennai. Their Tandoori chicken and pomfret was so good that we went back there on our way back to US. This is my recreation of Peshawari's Tandoori chicken and is not made in the traditional Tandoori oven, I typically use my green egg to make this dish.
Ingredients first marinade
1 whole chicken, 3 1/2 to 4 pounds
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 tablespoon kashmiri chili powder
1/2 tablespoon ginger / garlic paste
Salt to taste
Ingredients second marinade
1/2 teaspoon ajwain
4 tablespoon gram flour
1 cup yogurt
2 teaspoon kashmiri chilly powder
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon ginger / garlic paste
1 teaspoon gram masala powder -
1/2 teaspoon Kasoori methi powder
4 tablespoon mustard oil
Salt to taste
Pat chicken dry with paper towels and place breast-side-down on a large cutting board. Using sharp kitchen shears, remove the backbone by cutting along either side of it. Turn chicken over and lay out flat. Press firmly on breast to flatten the chicken. For added stability, run a metal or wooden skewer horizontally, entering through one thigh, going through both breast halves, and exiting through the other thigh. Place in a large rimmed baking dish.
Mix the ingredients listed in first marinade and the pour marinade over the chicken. Turn to coat evenly, rubbing the marinade into the holes and slits. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, refrigerate for at least 4 hours, turning occasionally.
Heat 2 tbsp of mustard oil and add ajwain seeds, gram flour and roast it in a slow flame for a minute till you get a nice aroma. (Note: Care should be taken not to burn the gram flour; the best way is to stir continuously and take the pan off the heat, back to the heat time and again). Allow this to cool.
Meanwhile mix the ingredients listed in the second marinade except the oil along with the cooked gram flour paste, salt to taste and finally add the oil and stir until well-mixed.
Pour the mixture over the chicken and rub it into the slit, turning the chicken several times and cover and leave it in refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking.
Set the EGG for indirect cooking (with the convEGGtor) at 350°F
Wipe excess marinade off of chicken and place chicken skin-side up on grill. Cover EGG and cook until instant read thermometer inserted into deepest part of breast registers 110°F. Carefully flip chicken and place skin-side-down and cover EGG and cook until skin is crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast registers 145 to 150°F.
Transfer chicken to a cutting board and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Carve and serve with sauce.
Serve with sprigs of cilantro and slices of cucumber, onion, and lemon wedge and enjoy!
Note: In western Indian restaurants tandoori chicken are red in color. They add color, but i prefer adding Kashmiri chilli powder for the color and the natural golden color.