Tandoori chicken, a favourite entry in just about any desi food lover’s top 5 lists, is a chicken BBQ dish prepared with yogurt and spices. The name comes from the type of oven, a tandoor, in which the dish is traditionally prepared.
Tandoori chicken finds its origins in Moti Mahal in Delhi, India. The first Prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, liked the dish so much that he made it a recurring menu item at official banquets. Many notable emissars and politicians from other countries who were fond of the dish include Richard Nixon, JFK, Nikolai Bulganin and Nikita Khrushchev – along with the kings of Nepal and Iran.
The dish is prepared by marinating chicken in yogurt with spice mixtures and crushed herbs. Peppers or chili powder is also used to give it a red hue reflective of its hot and spicy taste on the outer texture. While it is traditionally cooked in a tandoor, it can also be prepared on a barbecue grill.
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