A few days ago I had a very long day, so long, I was chewing dextrose tablets in an attempt to stay awake, and I’m pretty sure I was still falling asleep at my desk. So long, that the only thing I could do when I got home was watch Arthur. Ah Arthur, you funny looking aardvark, still as enjoyable now as you were 13 years ago. So once I was a little perked up I thought, what will really cheer me up?
The answer: CURRY.
Now I recently watched Gordon Ramsey’s trip around India- where he sampled the delights of traditional Indian cuisine- making my taste buds tingle. However, at the same time, he insisted that it is impossible to get an authentic curry in the UK. I disagree. I come from a small village, half an hour away from Bradford, and my parents lived for some years in Bradford, so I like my curries.
I feel that in a society where so many cultures come together, and where the concentration of one culture is so great, how can we not get that culture’s authentic food? You just have to look. Now I’m not saying there aren’t bad curry houses, The Balti House near where I live loads up their curries with cream and sugar, so much so I hate to go there, and if I do I eat vegetarian because it’s cooked for the locals. However in my area there are several great restaurants: The Aagrah, Akbar’s and The Muntaz to name a few. These are restaurants that provide excellent dishes, from specific regions, with their own special flavours that do not try to cater for a bland English pallet.
As for cooking at home, the number of Asian supermarkets has doubled, and in larger mainstream stores you will find aisles dedicated to food from other cultures. Where once curry ingredients were hard to find you can now find garam masala, coriander seed, mustard seed, turmeric, cloves, black sesame seed, cinnamon, and many packs of spices pre-combined for recipes. SO it is not impossible to cook a good curry at home – it just takes practice!
So today I am going to show you my recipe for tandoori style chicken, I cannot guarantee I get all the ingredients right but I will try.
- Chicken on the bone – either a whole chicken or the breast with wing still attached is best (scale up amount of spice if a whole chicken).
- 1 lemon
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2cm chunk of fresh ginger or powder
- 4tsp garam masala
- 1tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp cloves
- 1tsp cinnamon
- 3tsp coriander, powder or seeds
- 2tsp mustard seeds
- 1tsp black sesame seed
- Oil, butter or ghee
- Chop the garlic and ginger into small chunks and add to a food processor with the juice of the lemon. Then add the spices and blend until you have a runny paste. If its too thick add some of the oil or butter.
- Rub this mix all over the chicken and let it marinade it in the sauce. While marinating set the oven to 200C and wait for it to come up to heat.
- Once the oven is up to heat stick skewers in the chicken and rest over a deep roasting tray. Then dry roast in the oven, leave it for 30 mins, and then check every 10 mins, till the chicken is cooked and the juices no longer red.
- Serve with rice and/or Indian breads. The chicken should be so tender that it falls off the bone. So there you have it – (hopefully) gorgeous tandoori chicken!
Brief side note about lemons: I never used to add lemon to my Indian food. I’m not sure why but I didn’t, recently though I have. Lemons work so well – they have a distinct flavour, cut the spiciness of the curry and give it depth. If you haven’t used lemon in curries before I suggest you do.