Try This Tandoori Chicken Tikka Tonight

Ingredients

a) For the Tikka

  • 400g chicken
  • 30g ginger-garlic paste 
  • 30g Tandoori masala 
  • 125g yoghurt
  • 1tsp food coloring 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

b) For the Sauce

  • 1tbsp ghee
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 30g ginger-garlic paste 
  • 150g tomato purée 
  • 20g Tandoori masala 
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika 
  • 1tsp garam masala 
  • 100mL cream
  • salt, to taste 

c) Garnish

  • Pickled onions
  • Cilantro [Coriander] leaves
  • Lime/lemon

Procedure

a) Pre-prep

  1. Clean the chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  2. Chop the coriander [cilantro] leaves for the garnish. 

b) Preparation

i) Tandoori Chicken

In a large bowl, place the chicken pieces, yoghurt, and the tandoori masala. Mix well, preferably using your hands. Let marinate for 8 hours [or whatever time that’s comfortable for you].

ii) Tandoori Sauce

  1. In a saucepan, add ghee. Once melted, toss in one bay leaf. Let it fry for a whole minute. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
  2. Now add the ginger-garlic paste, and sauté. Stir in the leftover tandoori marinade, tomato purée and 1tsp each of paprika and garam masala powder, and sauté until the fat oozes from the purée.
  3. Slowly pour in chicken stock/water. Reduce until thick but pouring.
  4. Switch off the flame. Pour in the cream and stir lightly until mixed.
    Adjust the seasoning.  

Finishing

  1. Grill the chicken on a charcoal grill for maximum smoky flavor. Remember to baste the chicken with the Tandoori Sauce.
  2. If using a grill pan, grill the marinated chicken until just done
    turning every 5 minutes.
  3. Alternatively, grill in an oven for 15 minutes, turning after 5 minutes. Remove from the pan/ oven, and set aside to cool.

Assembly

Place the chicken tikkas on a platter/plate. Sprinkle over chopped coriander leaves. Serve with mint chutney, pickled onions and a wedge of lime/lemon. 

Notes

  • Marinating the chicken for 8 hours [overnight] in the tandoori masala yields a wickedly delicious flavor. If you’re short on time, at least marinate for an hour.
  • The Tandoori spice blend I use is pretty mild, hence the addition of more paprika. Check for the level of heat in your Tandoori blend before adding any extra chilli/paprika.
  • I prefer using both fresh tomatoes as well as tomato purée/paste – both impart very different flavors.
  • Turn it into a curry! Add the grilled chicken tikkas to the Tandoori Sauce to make it a Chicken Tikka Masala. Serve with Garlic Naan, butter roti, or steamed rice.
  • This Tandoori Sauce can also be used for vegetables. Remember to substitute the chicken stock with a vegetable stock. Add paneer [cottage cheese], potatoes, even cauliflower and broccoli for a cool vegetable Tikka Masala.

What Wine to Pair with?

A medium-bodied Rosé. Or Pinot Noir [if you’re using a spicier tandoori blend.]

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