Tag Archives: Tandoori Chicken

The Secret of Tandoori Chicken

Overwhelmingly, I was informed that as much as people liked the Tandoori Chicken piece I wrote the other day, I fell short by not including a recipe.

Well, here’s the secret:  I made it from a box!

You heard right.  While dashing around the grocery store with no list and an empty stomach, I broke the cardinal rule of budget-conscious home chefs. I impulse-shopped! (By the way, doesn’t Gourmantra sound like a delicious island?)

Fortunately, it turned out well for me. I enjoyed the meal, got to try something new, and even got to brag about it to my friends.

But true to the old verse, “Pride goeth before a fall” I know I have to confess that I used the ultimate shortcut and lose what little kitchen credibility I’ve been building.

Still who knows? It may be that sometimes you have to cut some corners in order to accomplish the real goal of introducing new tastes, ideas, people, stories, cultures, music, and languages to yourself – and your family.

If a box mix helps us make that happen from time to time, I’m OK with that. But if you’re not, here are some links to “real” Tandoori Chicken recipes.

Food NetworkEmeril Lagasse’s Tandoori Chicken

Allrecipes.comIndian Tandoori Chicken (I agree with one of the posters, don’t bother adding the artificial dyes)

Cooking Light Tandoori Chicken

Better Homes and GardensTandoori Chicken

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Tandoori Chicken and the History of India and Pakistan

Although I love Indian food, I’ve never been daring enough to make it at home. But that all changed today.

Meet Tandoori Chicken, my spicy new best friend.

According to Wikipedia, this is one recipe that really tells the story of two nations that share many things, including animosity towards each other.

It was originally created by a restauranteur in Peshawar province, before the partition of British-controlled India.

Partition was an incredibly violent and dangerous time. Carving up the territory into rival nations, India and Pakistan, meant that many Hindus found themselves on the “wrong” side of a newly created border and the same thing happened to Muslims in India.

The restauranteur, Kundan Lal Gujral, was Hindu and he made the dangerous journey out of Peshawar to finally arrive in Delhi where he started a new restaurant but maintained his prized Tandoori Chicken recipe.

The dish soon became a favorite of India’s first Prime Minister Jawarhalal Nehru and he served it at state dinners honoring American presidents John Kennedy and Richard Nixon, as well as other world leaders.

Like many dishes, Tandoori Chicken can’t be said to belong to any one nation. Its name comes not from a region or a religion but from the tandoor – a small, bell-shaped clay oven.

However, I – a Catholic in New Jersey who has never visited South Asia – made a pretty good version of it on a grill in my backyard.

If you’re interested in learning more about partition – a really fascinating story – there are many books and articles you can read about Mohandas Gandhi and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the men who led India and Pakistan, respectively, during this time.

I can recommend the film “Jinnah,” which was written by Dr. Akbar Ahmed, with whom I worked at American University.

Although I have always been interested in history and world cultures, Dr. Ahmed was the person who introduced me to this really incredible story.

Isn’t it amazing that food can be an avenue to explore all this?

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