Tandoori Murg

April 4th, 2010

Tandoori Chicken or Murg Angar (Chicken on Fire)

The Indian Independence Act was passed by the British Parliament in July of 1947. This act ended the British rule of India and provided for the partition India on August 15th 1947. On August 15th two independent countries were created, India and Pakistan. The state of Punjab was divided in half, West Punjab going to Pakistan and East Punjab joining India. Almost six million Hindu and Sikh refugees streamed out of West Punjab and into India carrying they personal belongings, their famous Clay Ovens called Tandoors and their extra ordinary cuisine. Tandoori cooking was like a hurricane that swept through New Delhi and spread over all of India.

The secret is to marinate the chicken in the spices overnight or for at least four hours. Then the chicken is cooked very hot, very fast.

5 pieces Chicken legs

5 pieces Chicken thighs

2 Tbs. Lime Juice

The Marinade

1 Cup Onions chopped fine

1 Tbs. Fresh Ginger grated fine

8 cloves Garlic, grated fine

2 Cups Plain Yogurt

2 Tbs. Ghee or clarified butter or cooking oil

2 Tbs. White Vinegar

1 Cup Cilantro chopped fine

1 Cup Fresh Mint, chopped fine

3 Jalapenos, chopped fine

1 Tsp. Turmeric

1 Tsp. Cayenne powder

1 Tsp. Ground Fenugreek seed

1 Tsp. Ground Cumin seed

1 Tsp. Ground Coriander seed

1 Tsp. Garam Masala

1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper

1 Tsp. Ground Nutmeg

1 Tsp. Ground Mace

1 Tbs. Paprika

1/2 Tsp. Saffron Powder, or break up the saffron real fine

(It is better to soak the saffron for one half hour in two tbs. milk)

1 Tbs. Salt

1 Tbs. Beet Root powder, or 1/2 cup fresh beet juice, or 5 to 10 drops red food coloring

(This coloring agent is optional; the traditional Tandoor recipe does not call for any food coloring)

Make deep several deep cuts in each chicken piece. It is important to get the marinade below the skin, and into the flesh of the chicken. Rub the chicken with the lime juice and set aside for one half-hour. Blend well all the ingredients of the marinade. Add the chicken and rub the marinade into the cuts in the chicken. Make sure the chicken is completely covered with the marinade. It is best to marinate the chicken for 24 hours in the refrigerator. If this is not possible marinate the chicken for as long as possible. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Put the chicken on a pre-greased broiler pan separating the pieces so that the heat can get to all sides of each piece. Put the chicken into the oven and turn the preheated oven to broil. Check the chicken frequently, turning the pieces as they brown, about every ten minutes. When done the chicken should have some burnt spots. Garnish with lemon slices and slightly broiled onion rings. You may substitute chunks of Lamb or young Goat for the chicken in this recipe.

The Tandoor is a clay oven that is about a three to four feet high and about a foot in diameter. A charcoal fire is built in the bottom of the Tandoor and the pieces of meat are placed on skewers and inserted into the Tandoor from the top. Meat cooks very fast in a Tandoor because of the high heat levels and because the heat gets to all sides of the meat. We may use a Grill, a Rotisserie, a Barbecue, or even the Broiler in the oven on its hottest setting as a substitute for the Tandoor.

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