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Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I am sure it does not come as a suprise to most of my supportive bloggers that I would make time to comb through the cookery section of the nearest book shop when I was in India...and that I definitely did at the very first opportunity at the Bangalore Airport Crossword bookshop.I was prepared to find a dismal collection at the airport bookshop but what I wasn't prepared for was to find almost 90% of the cookbooks displayed on the 2 shelves by some guy called Sanjeev Kapoor. I was flummoxed by this Cookery Book Mafia King for his books come in all permutations - full A4 sized pictorial versions, smaller pocket sized condensed versions, compilations on Chicken, Vegetarian, Chinese(??), Cakes & Pastries... my head almost throbbed with disdain - for intuitive experience tells me that when something has attained such mammoth scale in commercialisation they usually lack sincerity or substance. The other well published author is a lady by the name of Tarla Dala but most of her publications appear to be mainly vegetarian recipes. Hence, as a result, despite my disdain, I still went ahead to purchase Sanjeev Kapoor's Tandoori Cooking @ Home.
I picked this because I have always liked food prepared the Tandoori way and also because during this trip, I have come to love assorted Tandoori vegetables - from mushrooms to cauliflower to potatoes...I have acquired the habit to order at least one tandoori vegetable dish at every meal and I really do want to learn how to do this. For those who are unfamiliar, Tandoori actually means well-marinated meat cooked over an intense open fire. Traditionally, burning coals are used to fire deeply-embedded clay Tandoors (ovens).These thickly insulated ovens only has one opening for heat to escape and hence are able to retain heat very well making them especially suitable for baking rotis, naan and parathas...
As I browsed through my newly acquired cook book, I wondered to what extent would I be able to replicate the taste of grilling in a coal fired Tandoor.
The first recipe I picked to experiment with is none other than the ubiquitous Tandoori Chicken. I had tried to make this before but because the instructions from the last recipe was vague, it did not turn out quite right. Hence, I am eager to give this a go to see if I would be more successful plus of course, I already have all the necessary spices.
I must say, the results are really pleasing. I was skeptical if I would be able to get some charring on my chicken but I did. I do not know if I should attribute this to the recipe or to my oven. (probably the latter) The taste was delicious and was not unlike the ones I had experienced at the restuarants. In addition, the chicken was tender - perhaps I could try to grill this longer in my oven the next time to toughen it a little more. I suspect the higher heat in the traditional Tandoor tends to cook the chicken through more easily.
Yes, I am pleased and I had to message L to tell him how GOOD it tasted. So I guess I was too quick to judge Sanjeev Kapoor... I will need to try a few more recipes to fully make sure that he is not just a gimmick...
Recipe (from Sanjeev Kapoor's Tandoori Cooking @ Home):
800g Chicken (I used Chicken Thigh meat.)
2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
3 tbsp Lemon juice
Salt to taste
1 cup Plain yogurt
2 tbsp ginger paste
2 tbsp garlic paste
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp Mustard oil
Melted Butter for basting
1/2 tsp chaat masala
1. Make incisions with a sharp knife on the chicken meat.
2. Rub the mixture of 1 tsp chilli powder, one tbsp lemon juice and salt
over the chicken and set aside for half an hour.
3. In a separate bowl add yogurt, remaining chilli powder, salt, ginger paste, garlic paste and remaining lemon juice, garam masala powder and mustard oil
4. Rub the yogurt mixture over the chicken and marinate for 3 to 4 hours in the refrigerator.
5. Preheat oven to 200C. I used the rotisserie setting on my oven and placed a open rack near the top of the oven. Grill the chicken for 12 mins. Bast the chicken with butter and continue to grill for another 6mins.
6. Sprinkle with chaat masala and serve with Onion rings and lemon wedges.