Grilled Tandoori Chicken

By Beacon Staff

I am sure most of you have dragged your grill out of hibernation and fired it up at least a couple of times by now. Soon summer heat will be upon us and nothing is better than finishing off a hot day with a good meal cooked outdoors.’

We all have our favorites. Whether it is traditional American barbecue with ribs, sausages and burgers or maybe something a little more exotic, everything just tastes better when it is coming off the grill. My favorite food to grill is chicken, but sometimes when I am looking for something different than my favorite BBQ sauce to finish things off I look to the East, and by the East I am talking about India.

In India they have a long tradition of cooking outside over hot coals and the spiciness associated with many of their most popular dishes is said to help cool you down in the sweltering heat.

In this recipe we will be making one of the oldest and my favorite of all of these amazing dishes … grilled Tandoori chicken!

To get started you will need to gather together the following ingredients:

  • 8 chicken thighs, bone-in skin-off and trimmed of any excess fat
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 lemons, juice and zest
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T. fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 T. Madras curry powder
  • 1 T. Garam Masala
  • 1/2 t. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 t. fresh-ground black pepper
  • 2 t. salt, or to taste

The chicken needs at least eight hours and preferably 24 hours in the yogurt marinade for the best results, so a little planning ahead is needed but well worth the extra time.

To make the marinade combine the yogurt, lemon juice and zest, garlic, ginger, curry powder, Garam Masala, cayenne, black pepper and salt in a mixing bowl.

It is really important for the marinade to get deep into the chicken and to do this cut a few slashes into the flesh on both sides of the thighs.

Place the chicken in a large Ziploc bag and pour the marinade into the bag. Press all of the excess air out of the bag, seal it and then gently massage the marinade into the chicken.

Place the bag in your refrigerator for as long as you can – up to two days. You can roast the chicken in the oven at 450 degrees but I prefer to grill mine.

When you are ready to cook, pre-heat your grill on high and make sure that it is very clean because the chicken will stick to it if it is not clean and hot.

Remove the chicken from the bag and pat away any excess marinade with a paper towel. Lightly brush it with vegetable oil, reduce the flame to medium high and place on your grill.

In this case a little bit of charring, but not burning, is preferable so keep an eye on it and cook it for about 25 to 35 minutes or until it is no longer pink near the bone.

When cooked, remove from the grill to a platter and let rest for five minutes to ensure it is moist. I like to serve mine with steamed Basmati rice, tomato cucumber salad, fresh cilantro and flatbread …

Enjoy!

Joshua Auerhammer is the chef/owner at Culinary Design Studio in Bigfork.

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