Friday, 5 August 2011

Tandoori spiced chicken legs

My go-to chocolate cake is in the oven as i begin to write this. I needed to do some baking so i could coax myself back to cooking. Back from the short holiday, i have become a reluctant cook. Suddenly i want to be served hot food without having to cook it. Not that i had to start cooking as soon as we came back. I wasn't even asked to cook the day we returned. We went out for lunch and the husband generously bought me my favourite biryani even though it wasn't his favourite. Or maybe it was (t)his pampering that turned me into the reluctant cook. To see how much more pampering i could get away with! Didn't have to wait long to find out. I had to cook lunch yesterday and today but we have plans for Sunday. (We finally booked our tickets to watch the Harry Potter finale in 3D on the largest screen in Hyderabad. I can't wait!) So to get me through the rest of today and tomorrow, i am baking. Somehow baking has always felt like fun. Unlike cooking that can sometimes be a chore, especially when cooking the same curries for lunch repeatedly week after week. And it is not the repetition that i am complaining about, because i can bake the same chocolate cake every week and not get tired of it. Any thoughts on why that is?
I was digressing. Anyway, about the whole reluctant cook thing, last night the husband surprisingly understood my predicament and said he would cook the tandoori chicken legs by himself for dinner, the chef didn't even want a helper. And i think for the first time in two years, i accepted the leave granted and sat in the living room watching the new season of Masterchef Australia.
Since i didn't go into the kitchen, i don't have clicks of the husband's masterpiece from last night, though he repeatedly told me what delicious juicy chicken he had prepared. The pictures you see here are from a few weeks ago. And i was so hungry at that time, i could not bring myself to get an extra clean plate for the final pic. Excuse the laziness, please.

  • 3 skinless chicken legs including thighs
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt - adjust according to taste
  • 1 teaspoon tandoori masala powder (available in Indian groceries)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon oil, more for frying
Mix all the ingredients except chicken into a smooth paste. Wash the chicken and drain excess water. Using a sharp knife, score the chicken - i.e make multiple shallow cuts on both sides of each chicken piece until the knife touches the bone. This is to help the marinade to be absorbed better. Rub the prepared paste into the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
You can now bake the chicken in the oven or pan fry it. For the oven bake method, preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a baking tray with aluminium foil and grease it with oil. Arrange the chicken pieces on the foil. Bake for 20 minutes on one side. Remove from oven and turn the pieces and bake for another 15 minutes. The tandoori chicken legs are now ready to be served.
For the pan fry method, place a griddle or a heavy bottomed flat pan on high heat. After the pan heats up, place the chicken on the pan in one layer, cooking in batches if using a small pan. Cook for about 10 minutes on one side, turn the chicken and cook for another 7-8 minutes until the chicken is completely cooked through. It is best to do a quick check by cutting the chicken piece at its thickest part. If it is white and the juices run clear, the chicken is cooked. If it is still pink, allow to cook for a further 2-3 minutes until done.
I am forever afraid i will serve uncooked chicken on the plate, so the oven baked method is my favourite. But the husband insists on the pan fry method as he likes the char on top and the moistness inside. I will let you know if ever there is a consensus on this at home. Meanwhile enjoy the chicken.


  1. I am making this on the bbq tonight. Thanks!

  2. Oh yum. Love tandoori always. Perfectly done. Do check out my blog My culinary Trial room when u find time

  3. @ Kelly and Vimitha - Happy to hear you like it

  4. Some days there's nothing better than a good piece of chicken (or some time with masterchef). I completely know what you mean about some things being more appealing than others to cook- I can make pancakes for hours, but some days the thought of doling out spices for a curry is just beyond me.

  5. Hi Tori, glad to hear i am not alone, in the reluctance to cook and in watching masterchef :-) just getting back into cooking mode again. made my version of mushroom manchurian last night and hoping to post it today.

  6. You have such a wonderful hubby who elected to cook for you. I miss having such indulgent days. The chicken looks so tempting.

  7. Hey Anita, did you miss the word 'surprisingly'. Jokes apart, he is quite good when he wants to. Other times, he will simply give out orders from the sofa :-) But makes me realize i am lucky, when others point it out to me..


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