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How To Marinate Chicken For A Juicy Moist Tandoori Chicken
Making Tandoori Chicken
The Indian barbeque or Tandoor is essentially kept hot 24x7 in Indian restaurants around the world. The clay Tandoor with live coals is what gives the chicken kababs,chicken tikkas and whole tandoori chicken its distinctive flavor that we all love. But the most important is the marinade used for the chicken, be it cooked whole or as boneless pieces or pieces with bones.
There are several varieties of spices used in various combinations to give kababs their succulent taste. Depending on the part of chicken used and the marinade,bone/boneless,names are given to the different types available on the menu.
Cooking in the tandoor entitles your chicken to be juicy and succulent on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside. No fat is used for cooking and it is health food. For basting, the marinade that is left over is used which, when being cooked, drops down to the live coals along with fat from the chicken and the aroma that arises out of the tandoor beckons you.
The tandoori chicken is a famous dish and is a must at Indian parties. It is cooked whole and then cut into manageable pieces for serving. It is distinctive because of its red colouring and the smell of aromatic spices. The most important for all tandoori chicken items is the marinade. Yogurt is the basic for most tandoori marinades, as it tenderizes the meat and seeps into the cuts made on a whole chicken taking with it the flavors of fresh and dry spices, making the insides of the chicken tender and leaving a light coating on the outside which becomes slightly crispy when cooked. Chicken needs less time to be marinated than other meats and absorbs tandoori masala perfectly. Normally, the tandoori chicken and marinated chicken kababs and tikkas are threaded onto skewers and displayed over the counter and you can choose your kababs or order a tandoori platter where you will be served all the different meats cooked in a tandoor. This would include fish, chicken, and seekh (lamb mince), cooked in various marinades using different spices and herbs, emanating aromas and visually a treat,since the marinades take the colour of the spices used. Tandoori colour for chicken is usually red , but some variants of chicken tikkas use herbs to make them green or yellow or cream in colour. On the whole, they make anyone want to try them and once hooked, that is what you will order again.
What Goes Into The Marinade
Marinade does 2 things to any meat. One it tenderizes the meat and secondly, the flavors of the spices reach the insides making the meat flavorful throughout. Poultry, particularly chicken absorbs all flavors and seasonings in about 10 minutes although for a whole tandoori chicken at least 2 hours marination time is required. Of all meats, chicken and fish absorb much more quickly. Tandoori chicken is usually made with chicken that has been skinned, so the marinade goes right through.
Yogurt, for tenderizing the meat, mixed with spices such as ginger, garlic, chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, and herbs such as coriander and mint to add flavor and aroma. Red coloring is optional when making at home but the red food coloring is the trademark of all tandoori dishes particularly the Tandoori Chicken.
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