I don’t like the garish red colour of whole tandoori chicken, although it is authentic, but I love the way it is cooked – marinated and baked. Although it is difficult to replicate the heat of a tandoor (clay oven), I have cooked this very successfully in a kettle barbecue. This method uses indirect heat that circulates around the chicken, keeping it incredibly moist. You get a passable result in a hot oven, but the flavour is better on the barbie. Take the chicken out of the fridge at least 20 minutes before cooking – it lessens the trauma caused by the sudden heat, and keeps the bird tender.
Serves 6 as a starter
- 5 kg (3 lb 5 oz) chicken
- 1 teaspoon hot chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 50 g (2 oz) Clarified Butter or melted butter
For The Tandoori Marinade
- 3 tablespoons yoghurt
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon dark muscovado sugar (dark brown sugar)
- 5 cm (2 inch) piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, roughly crushed in a pestle and mortar
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, roughly crushed in a pestle and mortar
- 2 red chillies, seeded and roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- A few drops of red food colouring (if you must)
How to make Whole Tandoori Chicken at home
- Start the day before. Pull the skin off the chicken, gripping the bird with a clean damp cloth if it gets a bit slippery. Using a sharp knife, make deep slashes in the thighs and breast of the chicken. Mix the chilli powder, salt, pepper and lemon juice together and then rub this all over the chicken, making sure it penetrates all the slashes. Set aside to marinate for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the tandoori marinade. Put all the ingredients (including the food colouring, if using), into a food processor and blitz to a smooth purée. Put the chicken in a good-sized glass or stainless steel dish and spread the marinade mixture all over it and into the gashes. Cover the chicken and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7. While the oven is heating, take the chicken out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature. Stand the chicken on a rack sitting in a roasting tin, spoon over any remaining marinade and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the clarified or melted butter.
- Roast the chicken for 1 hour or until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a skewer.
- Baste frequently with the remaining clarified or melted butter and the pan drippings. Remove from the oven and allow to rest before carving.
After that add the peppermint chutney and onion in serving platter and your tasty and crunchier Whole Tandoori Chicken is ready to be served.