Friday, August 25, 2017

Grilled Tandoori Chicken Tikka

Tandoori Chicken, or Tandoori Murghi, is a classic Indian dish made with a vibrant and spicy marinade of yogurt, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, vegetable oil and a handful of warm fragrant spices including powdered cardamom, chill powder, turmeric, garam masala and my secret ingredient — Tandoori masala — which gives the marinade it's bright orange-red lustre. Combined into a loose paste and liberally coated over pieces of lightly scored bone-in chicken breasts, thighs or legs, the marinade works its magic over a couple of hours or overnight in the refrigerator, allowing the flavours to fully develop. The rich blend of spices gives the Tandoori Chicken its unique flavour, but more importantly, it's the yogurt that helps to penetrate the spices into the meat while tenderizing at the same time. This is also the basic marinade that is often used to cook the chicken before making Butter Chicken. Grilled on an outdoor barbecue over medium-high heat, the thick consistency of the yogurt keeps the seasonings on the meat and seals in the robust flavours, for a tender, moist and succulent dish that's simply the best.

Grilled Tandoori Chicken Tikka
Serves 2

2 chicken breasts, boneless and cut in half
1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup plain Greek yoghurt
1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 1/2 tbsp Tandoori masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt

Pat dry the chicken breasts and score the tops with 3 or 4 cuts. In a large bowl, combine the yoghurt, ginger, garlic, cardamom, chili powder, garam masala, oil, lemon juice, Tandoori masala, salt and mix well to form a loose paste. Add the chicken breasts to the mixture, tossing thoroughly to ensure they're well coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours, or even overnight, to allow the chicken to marinate.

To grill, place the chicken breasts on a pre-heated outdoor barbecue and cook 8-10 minutes over medium-high heat. Turn them over and continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes or until the chicken is evenly cooked and has nice grill marks. Serve with Gobi Matar and pappadams for a delicious low fat meal.

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