|Place of origin||Peshawar, Pakistan|
|Region or state||Indian Subcontinent|
|Created by||Kundan Lal Gujral of Moti Mahal|
|Main ingredients||Chicken, yogurt, honey, tandoori masala|
|Variations||Tandoori paneer, Fish tandoori|
|Cookbook: Tandoori chicken Media: Tandoori chicken|
Tandoori chicken is a yoghurt and spice marinated chicken cooked in a tandoor, a cylindrical clay oven. It is a popular dish originating from the Indian subcontinent, particularly from Peshawar, Pakistan. The tandoor oven originates from the northwest frontier. It is popular in Pakistan, India, and has become increasingly popular in other parts of the world.
The raw chicken is marinated in a mixture of yogurt and the spice tandoori masala. Cayenne pepper, red chili powder or Kashmiri red chili powder is used to give it a fiery red hue. A higher amount of turmeric produces an orange color. In milder versions, both red and yellow food coloring are sometimes used to achieve bright colors, but turmeric powder is both mild and brightly colored, as is paprika, a sweet red pepper powder.[a]
The marinated chicken is placed on skewers and cooked at high temperatures in a heated clay oven known as the tandoor. It is heated with charcoal or wood which adds to the smoky flavour. The dish can also be cooked in a standard oven, using a spit or rotisserie, or over hot charcoal.
Indian cookery writer Dharamjit Singh provides a range of tandoori recipes for whole grilled chicken, some of which are cooked in a tandoor and others over charcoal. These include Chirga (Roasted whole chicken); Tandoori Murgh (Roast whole chicken with almonds); Murgh Kabab Seekhi (Whole stuffed chicken on the spit); Kookarh Tandoori (Steamed chicken on spit); Tandoori Murgh Massaledarh (Whole spiced chicken on spit); and Murghi Bhogar (Chicken in the Bhogar style).
Tandoori chicken originated at the Moti Mahal Delux restaurant. Kundan Lal Gujral, a Punjabi, is credited with invention of the dish. Gujral founded the restaurant in the Peshawar area of Pakistan. It was in this restaurant that Gujral invented Tandoori chicken, along with other dishes like Butter Chicken.
In the United States, tandoori chicken began appearing on menus by the 1960s. Jacqueline Kennedy was reported to have eaten "chicken tandoori" on a flight from Rome to Bombay in 1962. A recipe for tandoori chicken was printed in the Los Angeles Times in 1963, for "the hostess in search of a fresh idea for a party dinner"; a similar recipe was featured in the same newspaper in 1964, along with other chicken dishes from world cuisines.
Tandoori chicken can be eaten as a starter or appetizer, and as a main course, the latter with naan (an Indian flatbread). It is also used as a base chicken in numerous cream-based curries such as butter chicken. Localized varieties of tandoori chicken prepared from the rooyi posto in Bengal have appeared in local eateries, particularly those between Kolaghat and Kolkata. Tandoori chicken was popularized in post-independent India by Moti Mahal Delux in Delhi when it was served to the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. There, tandoori chicken became a standard offering at official banquets.
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The fame of tandoori chicken led to many derivatives, such as chicken tikka (and eventually the Indian dish popularized in Britain, chicken tikka masala), commonly found in menus in Indian restaurants all over the world.
- Butter chicken
- Indian cuisine
- List of chicken dishes
- Pakistani cuisine
- Punjabi cuisine
- Tandoori masala
- For instance, see the recipe in Madhur Jaffrey's Cookery, pp. 66-69
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