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Indian Food is More than Just Curry

A lot of people I know in London love Indian food. Let's be honest, what's not to like? It's comforting, it's full of flavour and above everything it's diverse. But funnily enough, when I ask people what their favourite Indian dishes are, they revert to the classics: a chicken tikka masala, a butter chicken, a lamb madras, a vindaloo...

What about the bread? Granted, it's not a dish but India had so much to offer in terms of bread apart from naan. There's puratha, puri, chapati, roti and more. And let's not forget the Indian barbecue. They have their own kebabs and my favourite (are you surprised) tandoori chicken.

Growing up in Abu Dhabi, we had access to some of the best Indian food I've ever tasted. It helped that it was Mum's take away of choice. But, as most children of 5 or 6, I was fussy about what non-home cooked food I ate. The only Indian food I would eat was tandoori chicken. I loved it. It's strange, particularly for me, because tandoori chicken is known for being dry. That's why it's very rarely done with chicken breast as there's no bone to keep it moist.

Thinking back to the times we would get tandoori chicken and dahl for dinner gave me a craving for it. So I decided to try my hand at my own, home-made tandoori chicken. Not being Indian, my version isn't authentic but it's pretty darn close. I wasn't the only one impressed with my efforts (not to toot my own horn) and I am so making this again when we have people round for dinner.

I used chicken wings because that's what we had in the freezer. The recipe is for any kind of chicken on the bone. Thighs and drumsticks were made for this marinade, I'm telling you.

Tandoori Chicken

  • 500g thick yoghurt - I used laban

  • 50g ginger, grated

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tbsp paprika

  • 1 tbsp hot chilli flakes or powder

  • 1/2 tbsp garam masala

  • 1 tsp black pepper

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • EITHER 15 chicken wings OR 8-9 thighs & drumsticks

If you are using thighs and drumsticks, skin the chicken and make a deep slit in the meat so that as much flavour is soaked up as possible. If you're using wings, leave them as they are because skinning wings is not worth the hassle.

In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients except the chicken together so that it forms a great smelling, red marinade. Pat the chicken dry with kitchen roll and put it in the bowl with the marinade. Mix everything together so that the chicken is well coated and under the marinade. IF YOU ARE GOING TO TASTE THE MARINADE, MAKE SURE YOU DO IT BEFORE THE CHICKEN GOES IN! Cover the bowl with cling film and let it sit for at least half an hour. I left it for two hours. If you want to leave it any more than 2 hours, put the bowl in the fridge.

Preheat an oven to 180 degrees C and place a baking tray in it to heat up. Once heated, lay the chicken out evenly and pour over any of the remaining marinade. Cover with foil and roast for half an hour.

Once the half an hour is up, remove the foil and roast for another 30-40 minutes. Serve your delicious creation with beans, salad, lentils or veg. A good side is a simple leaf salad and some garlic roasted aubergine. 


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