Originating from the Punjab region before the independence of India and Pakistan, chicken tandoori is now famous across the world, especially here in the UK where nearly every man, woman and child can easily recognise the brightly coloured, oven charred chicken dish.
The dish itself is said to originate nearly 100 years ago, when a man named Mokha Singh Lamba started a small restaurant in Peshawar, Pakistan. In the centre of his restaurant was a cylindrical clay oven that was used to bake breads. Since the 16th Century there have been reports that chicken was roasted inside the ovens, alongside the breads. The chicken had crispy skin and a recognisably bright red exterior.
The widely popular dish is eaten across the world; from India and Pakistan to Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Western World. It consists of chicken, marinated in yoghurt and spices, being roasted in a traditional cylindrical clay oven (tandoor), which is where the dish gets its name from.
The spice mix used to make this dish is known as tandoori masala; a mixture of cayenne pepper, red chilli powder or Kashmiri red chilli powder combine to give the dish its fiery red hue. If a higher amount of turmeric is used, then the dish takes on a more yellowy colour. Paprika and sweet red pepper can also be added to crate different flavour and colour combinations.
The chicken is cooked at high temperatures in the oven which gives the characteristic charred edges which can also be accomplished by cooking the meat over a barbecue grill. The chicken is put on to metal skewers and placed in the oven which is heated by charcoal or wood to give an additional smoky flavour.
Tandoori chicken is eaten as a starter or appetiser as well as a main course, traditionally with naan. It is used in a number of different cream-based curries including butter chicken.
Royal Nawaab Halal restaurant London has a wide selection of tandoori chicken dishes for you to choose from.