When the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, ate at Moti Mahal, he was so impressed by the crispy, tender dish that he made a point of planning many state banquets there. This relationship between Gujral's restaurant and leaders of India lasted through several generations of Prime Ministers.
A look at half a dozen recipes for Tandoori chicken turned up a rather diverse list of spices. A look in my spice drawer resulted in the recipe that follows. While you don't need a tandoor to make this dish, a grill, with its source of indirect heat, seems to be the preferred method. I will try it on a charcoal grill when the weather is a bit milder. It worked quite well with the combined stove-top grilling and oven finish.
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1-1/2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground mace
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
olive oil spray
1.In a medium bowl, stir together yogurt, salt, pepper, cloves, and ginger. Mix in garlic, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and coriander. Set aside.
2.Rinse chicken under cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Use a sharp knife to make superficial slashes on both sides of chicken. This is so the marinade penetrates the meat. Place chicken in a large resealable plastic bag. Pour yogurt mixture over chicken, press air out of bag, and seal. Turn the bag over several times to distribute marinade. Place bag in a bowl, and refrigerate 8 hours, or overnight, turning bag occasionally.
3. Remove chicken from bag and discard marinade. Scrape off excess marinade.
4. Spray a nonstick grill pan with olive oil spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook thighs about 2 minutes on each side, until they have grill marks on them. Transfer to a baking dish and finish in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Then, turn on the broiler and broil for 3-5 minutes to brown the top.
Both DSO and I agreed that this dish was a keeper. From the first wonderful aromas generated by the spice mixture to the moist, flavorful last bite, it was evident that the 8 hours of marinating in the spiced yogurt produced an exceptional flavor. Served with Jasmine rice and spicy long beans, it was only lacking a good loaf of Naan. Based on the success of this dish, I may venture more often into this cuisine.