Tandoori chicken, which originated in the Punjab region in northern India and eastern Pakistan, is a widely popular dish that is made by marinating chicken with yogurt and tandoori masala.
According to Bhajan Singh, Asian sous chef at PLAYT restaurant of The Park Lane Hotel Hong Kong, the traditional way of roasting the chicken with charcoal fire in tandoor helps keep the meat moist and tender despite a high temperature, usually up to 400C, inside the clay oven.
The secret to this successful Indian dish is the marinade, which should be prepared with only fresh spices and herbs. Any ready-made sauce in the market will have 90 percent less fragrance and flavors when compared to the homemade one, Singh noted.
The yogurt in the marinade can break down the proteins of the chicken, making it silky tender. In terms of regional varieties, the addition of coconut milk is popular in southern India, while adding fresh chilies in the marinade is a common practice in western India, the chef said.
1kg chicken, 100g plain yogurt, 10g mini red capsicum powder, 5g garam masala, 10g minced ginger, 10g minced garlic, 20mL vegetable oil , 5g ground cumin, 5g ground coriander, salt, 10mL lemon juice, onion, chopped coriander, salad vegetables
1. Debone and slice the chicken into right size.2. Prepare the marinade. Mix well the plain yogurt, mini red capsicum powder, garam masala, minced ginger, minced garlic, vegetable oil, ground cumin, ground coriander and appropriate amount of salt.3. Mix the chicken pieces with the marinade well. Refrigerate the meat for 6 to 8 hours.4. Thread the chicken pieces on to large skewers, or put them on an oven tray.5. Bake the meat at 180C for 10 to 15 minutes.6. Mix the baked chicken with chopped coriander, onion, lemon juice and salad vegetables.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 9.
Translation by Darlie Yiu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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