Tandoori Spice Chicken
What is Tandoori? Tandoori is a spice mixture indigenous to Northern India. Though most would associate the name tandoori with a recipe, it's really the method of cooking. A tandoor is an in-ground clay oven or essentially a very large clay pit. The pit is large enough to hold a small fire created by slow burning wood charcoal. The heat is directly controlled by the amount of air that is allowed in and out of the pit. Many tandoori ovens have a small door at the bottom that controls the air flow, which results in a high concentration of heat. The heat of the fire is reflected by the ceramic walls of the tandoor, intensifying the heat and creating a cooking environment that can easily reach 600 degrees. Flatbread is stuck to the sides of the tandoor to cook quickly and evenly. Large skewers of meat are lowered and quickly cooked to seal in the flavor and juices.
As for the spice, tandoori chicken is traditionally marinated in yogurt and rubbed with a delicious combination of spices. The first thing you will notice about this spice is the color. Tandoori dishes are usually very red or very yellow; depending on the marinade ingredients. The red is provided by ground annatto seeds. The yellow comes from saffron which provides a rich earthy flavor to the spice mixture. In addition to the bright color and bold flavor provided by the spices, tandoori is also flavored traditionally with ginger, garlic, coriander powder, cayenne pepper, and garam masala. Garam masala is a combination of roasted and ground cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and black pepper.
While you can certainly create your own spice mixture at home, many of the ingredients are difficult to source and grinding the spices can be time-consuming and messy. SpiceJungle carries a high quality tandoori spice mix that can be easily utilized as a rub for your favorite poultry, beef or fish. Incredibly fragrant, your home will be perfumed with the exotic flavors and smells of Northern India.
Tandoori Chicken Recipe
Yields 4 servings
- 1 whole fryer chicken (inner giblet package removed)
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 3 tbsp. Tandoori Spice
- salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place one whole fryer chicken into a roasting pan. Rub the skin with the softened butter. Sprinkle the Tandoori spice onto the chicken and rub over the entire chicken. Place in the oven and cook for 60-65 minutes. The internal temperature of the thigh must be 165 degrees. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before carving. Serve with pita bread and garlic sauce.