11:58 | Posted by Nim Headland | Category ,

Tandoori Style Chicken

What started as a simple meal of Tandoori style chicken and pilau rice ended up a full on Indian feast, so I thought it only fair to share my chicken recipe along with all the accompaniments that I kept adding... and adding!

Lets do the chicken and marinade first. I would put the chicken on to marinate in the morning before work so it has lots of time to develop into something delicious. You can knock up the paste the night before if that's easier for you. It will sit quite happily in the fridge for 3 days.

Tandoori Masala Paste

2 tsp Ginger paste (Barts do a good one)
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp ground paprika
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground chilli powder.
A pinch of ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon red food colouring
A scant few drops of yellow food colouring
200ml Natural yoghurt

Chuck your garlic, ginger, dry spices and food colouring into a bowl. Combine, then stir in the yoghurt. Mix it really well so you get a nice even red coloured paste. It's great with fish, prawns or chicken kebabs, but here I used it on some chicken thighs. Allow two per person. Before marinading, cut three slits across each thigh, to allow the marinade to sink in and flavour all of the meat. Roll each thigh in the Tandoori paste, making sure they are completely covered, then pack them tightly in a dish, cover and put in the fridge until you are ready for them. I like to give them at least 4 hours marinading.

In the absence of a tandoori oven, I gave mine 20 minutes in the oven at 170 degrees, then handed them over to my Dad the BBQ king. He gave them a quick blast on the BBQ to finish them off, blacken them up a bit and give them that slightly smoky taste. You could cook these all the way through on the barbie, or chuck them under the grill. Whatever you fancy really!

Right, now you've got gorgeous chicken, you're going to want some stuff to go with it. You can knock up all the following while your chicken is marinading and you'll end up with a fantastic Saturday night feast, perfect for when you're having a bunch of friends round for a few beers.

Colourful Pilau Rice

This is my mum's recipe, and very good it is too. I use Tilda basmati rice, as it's the only one I know will always come out cooked. Some of the cheaper versions just. won't. cook! Not good when you've got a crowd of hungry people staring at you while you put the rice back in the microwave for the 5th time!

These are the amounts for three, up everything accordingly if you're feeding a crowd!

Generous knob of butter
Tilda basmati rice (check the packet for amounts, I do it by eye!)
5 cardamom pods
An inch of cinnamon stick
10 black pepper corns
6 cloves
Two drops each green, red and yellow food colouring.

Melt your butter in the microwave (20 secs) then chuck in the spices and microwave for about 40 seconds. Add the rice to the bowl and stir well. Cover to 1/4 inch above the rice with just-boiled water from the kettle. Cover with clingfilm, then microwave on full for 10 minutes. Remove and uncover, fluff with a fork and taste. If it's not quite ready, recover and return to the microwave for a further couple of minutes. When it's done, very carefully drip in your food colouring. Apply each colour to a different spot, then leave it to sit for a minute or so. Then stir well with a fork and you'll end up with really pretty (and delicious) colourful rice.

Cucumber and Mint Raita

This is a great dip to serve with any curry, as it provides a good foil for spicy foods. It's the easiest thing to make, and fab for dipping poppadoms in!

Chuck some natural yoghurt into a serving bowl or ramekin. Add some cucumber which you have chopped into teeny cubes (I remove the seeds, cus I think their texture is a bit spooky with the yoghurt). Add some finely chopped fresh mint and stir.

An Easy Salad

This is the salad I choose to serve with most barbequed meat. It goes really well with the Tandoori chicken cus it's really simple and fresh tasting.

Finely slice some iceburg lettuce that you have washed well and spun dry. Add some sliced cherry tomatoes and some finely sliced red onion. Remove the skin from some cucumber and cube. Serve with a couple of lemon wedges on top for that authentic takeaway look!

There you have it, a fab Indian style feast. I served all this with warmed poppadoms, Sharwood's Mango Chutney and some onion bajis. Ours were from Waitrose and I think they are the best of the supermarket offerings. The Tesco ones are revolting, so stay away from those. If you've got time and want to make your own, Jamie Oliver has a great recipe in his Ministry of Food cookbook.

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