The big escape with Tandoori Chicken

Mallika Basu - The big escape with Tandoori Chicken

We had a long weekend here. And Notting Hill Carnival. Living with seven million people is so my thing. Sharing a weekend with most of them and tourists on rubbish-strewn West London streets totally isn't. We shoved a duvet, an aunt, one brother, chocolate and home-made Tandoori Chicken into the car and drove off to an idyllic Cambridge village to visit another brother. The BBQ was ready for my glistening red chicken portions. I stood in a cloud of dark smoke, basting them with a mix of lime juice and vegetable oil. While Harry the dog and the relatives took it in turns to pace around the BBQ. The resulting Tandoori Chicken was soft, juicy, full of flavour. Worth every smokey moment. And escaping London for. PS = To enjoy Tandoori Chicken properly I recommend using a tandoor or BBQ. You could grill it, but that wonderful charcoal smoked flavour will be MIA.


Skin the chicken, make two sideways slits – on the thigh and on the leg – and place in a rectangular dish.

Peel the ginger, garlic and whizz into a smooth paste with the whole seeds and half the yogurt in a food processor. Add the rest of the yogurt, the chilli powder, meat tenderiser, fenugreek, colouring and salt to the food processor bowl and mix well.

Check it for salt. You want this marinade to be overpowering in every way – salty, spicy, bitter – because the BBQ will soften the taste.

Now, smother the chicken leg portions with this marinade making sure every one of them is well coated. Then chill until you’re ready for the BBQ. I left it overnight but a few hours will be plenty.

When it’s on the tandoor or BBQ, mix the oil and lime juice together and baste the chicken portions twice during cooking. They will take a good half an hour to be ready, but make sure you open one up and check that the chicken juices run clear (not pink) before feeding people!

Tandoori chicken is perfect just on it’s own. But feel free to serve it with a lemony mixed salad and some hot naan.

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