Originating in the Punjab region of India, tandoori murgh is a special chicken dish marinated in yogurt, and seasoned with different spices. What makes tandoori murgh so special is in the way it is cooked. It is traditionally cooked at high temperatures in an earthen oven called a Tandoor.
Tandoor cooked chicken actually dates back to the Mughal period. This delicacy was a main course of the enormous Indian feasts of that day.
Another story of its origins lies with a man named Kundan Lal Gujral, who ran a restaurant called Moti Mahal in Peshawar before the partition of India. Trying out new recipes to keep his patrons interested, Gujral tried cooking chicken in tandoors (clay ovens) used by locals until then to cook naans (bread).
The tandoori murgh at Moti Mahal so impressed the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, that he made it a regular at official banquets.
And this is my version: a first attempt at tandoori murgh.
chicken pieces, skinless 1/2 kg
Shan tandoori chicken masala 1/2 packet
yoghurt 3 tbsp
ginger-garlic paste 1 tbsp
chat masala 1 tsp (per Masood’s request)
- Slash meat diagonally and prick all over with a fork.
- In a bowl, mix all the ingredients mentioned above to make the marinade.
- Add the chicken pieces in the marinade and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat over to 240 C
- Remove chicken pieces from the marinade and arrange in a pan lined with foil.
- Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
- Turn chicken pieces over, brush with marinade, and bake for another 10 minutes.
- Turn oven to broil setting.
- Broil chicken pieces for 5 minutes to get that burnt look that tandoori chicken usually have.
- Serve with lemon wedges and salad of your choice.
Masood loved it so much that we didn’t eat out on Thursday night, which has been our tradition ever since we got married, and insisted that I bake tandoori murgh for dinner.
P.S. We already had tandoori murgh for lunch earlier that day!