As an English expat in Italy there is one type of cuisine from home that I miss above all others. Sometimes…well, I just really crave a good Indian curry.
Over the centuries Britain has seen huge amounts of immigration resulting in an incredible multiculturalism, from the invasion of the Vikings, the Romans, the Industrial Revolution and, of course, the British Empire. This multiculturalism has had a profound effect on the food that we eat.
In fact, you might be surprised to find out that in recent years Indian dishes like Chicken Tikka Masala have been the most commonly eaten and most loved dishes in Britain. Chicken Tikka Masala has actually been named Britain’s national dish.
Britain has a long history of Indian and Pakistani cuisine with the first curry recipe appearing in a cookbook in England over 250 years ago and the first curry house opening in 1810 in London. Nowadays this cuisine so developed that some dishes have been completely invented in the UK. For example, the incredibly popular Balti (a rich spicy curry named after the cast iron cooking pot) was created in Birmingham in England.
Tandoori chicken is a rich, delicious yet healthy dish that is not too hot, with tender chicken marinated in yoghurt and spices. It is traditionally cooked in a clay oven called a Tandoor but can also be cooked on a BBQ or griddle.
I recommend making a sauce to accompany the chicken. If you can get hold of some coriander then you can make a fabulous sauce with a good chilli kick (recipe below). If you don’t like chilli, or are struggling to find coriander then you can make a refreshing mint and cucumber sauce instead (simply combine yoghurt with chopped and peeled cucumber plus lime juice, fresh mint and a touch of salt).
Tandoori chicken is best served with freshly cooked Naan bread (recipe will be on the blog shortly).
(If you can’t find the spices for the marinade then you can use curry powder instead with extra ginger and cumin).
- 100ml lemon juice
- 1 red onion
- 8 chicken thighs or legs
- 4 tsp paprika
- Olive oil
- 200ml Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1tsp garam masala
- 1tsp cumin seeds (ground)
- 1/3tsp chilli powder
- 1/2tsp turmeric
- 100ml greek yoghurt
- Handful of fresh coriander
- 1/2 green chilli
- 10ml lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon of cumin seeds (ground)
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of sugar
- Slice the onions finely and combine with the lemon juice, paprika in a dish. Score the chicken meat and leave to soak in the juice for 5 minutes.
- Make the marinade using all of the ingredients. Pour over the chicken and make sure the meat is well covered. Leave to marinade for at least 3 hours in the fridge.
- To make the coriander sauce, blend all of the ingredients together. Make sure you taste and adjust to your preference. This can be made hotter with the addition of more chilli, or cooled down with the addition of more yoghurt and sugar. Put in the fridge until ready to serve.
- When the chicken is ready heat a griddle or BBQ. Brush the chicken with olive oil and grill for 15 minutes on each side until lightly blackened. Cut a piece open to check whether it is fully cooked.
- Serve the chicken with some simple salad leaves and the coriander sauce on the side.
Adapted from BBC Good Food