The Tandoor is clay oven and dished cooked in it are called tandoori dishes. It has fierce but an even distribution of heat that enables meat to cook quickly, forming a light crust on the outside, sealing the juices of the meat, leaving the inside moist and succulent after it is cooked.
It is possible to achieve perfectly satisfactory results by using a conventional gas or electric oven setting it at the highest temperature, though the distinctive flavour of the clay-cooked chicken will not be achieved.
1/2kg chicken joints, legs or breast or a combination of the two
1 tsp salt to taste
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 - inch cube of root ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
2-3 small cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 fresh green chilli, coarsely chopped and seeded if a milder flavour is required
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
75g thick set natural yoghurt
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp Tandoori colour (available from the Indian grocers in powder form) or a few drops of red food colouring mixed with 1 tbsp tomato puree
Prepare the marinade with the yoghurt, salt, ground paste of spices, garam masala, pepper and the green chillies, chopped ginger and garlic.
Coat the chicken with the paste and allow it to marinate for an hour at least. Skewer the marinated chicken pieces, and arrange it a hot oven, and allow it cook for half an hour.
Change the position of the skewer every ten minutes so that all the sides of the chicken are evenly browned and cooked. When the meat is cooked it will be tender to touch, and will be ready to drop off the skewer.
Remove the meat from the oven and gently push the meat off from the skewer on to a plate.
Arrange on a plate with sliced onion and lime quartered. The juice of the lime may be squeezed on to the meat just as you are serving it.
It is a dish that can eaten alone or be can eaten with rice, hot rotis, chappatis or naan.