Ravinder Bhogal’s tandoori chicken with sides – recipes

<span>Ravinder Bhogal’s home-cooked tandoori feast (clockwise from right): spatchcock tandoori chicken with coriander chutney, grilled garlic naan and watermelon and cucumber kachumber.</span><span>Photograph: Matthew Hague/The Guardian. Food styling: El Kemp. Prop styling: Anna Wilkins.</span>
Ravinder Bhogal’s home-cooked tandoori feast (clockwise from right): spatchcock tandoori chicken with coriander chutney, grilled garlic naan and watermelon and cucumber kachumber.Photograph: Matthew Hague/The Guardian. Food styling: El Kemp. Prop styling: Anna Wilkins.

Much like a Sunday roast, tandoori food was a weekend ritual when I was growing up. Tender nubs of meat marinaded in a spicy yoghurt marinade, charred to perfection and swiped through a herbal chutney, still taste like a good time to me. Strictly speaking, tandoori chicken is cooked in a tandoor, a clay oven that is also used to bake bread, but it is also perfect for throwing on the barbecue, assuming the weather permits; if not, this can be cooked in an oven or under a hot grill. The versatile marinade also works well with meat, poultry, seafood, paneer and vegetables.

Spatchcock tandoori chicken with coriander chutney

To get dinner on the table faster, cube chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces, then marinade and thread on to metal skewers. They’ll cook under a hot grill or on a barbecue in about 15 minutes.

Prep 20 min
Marinate 4 hr +
Cook 55 min (plus rest)
Serves 6

3 fat garlic cloves, peeled and grated
2½cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 green birds eye chillies, very finely chopped
Sea salt, to taste
1 tbsp kashmiri red chilli powder, or paprika
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and roughly crushed
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ t
sp ground cinnamon
A pinch of ground cloves
A pinch of saffron strands
, soaked in 2 tbsp warm water
The juice of 1 lime
200g greek yoghurt
1 whole chicken
(about 1.6kg), spatchcocked by your butcher (or see online for method)
ghee, melted
Chaat masala, to finish

For the coriander and mint chutney
100g fresh coriander, including stalks
25g fresh mint leaves, picked
2 tbsp peanuts, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes
1-2 green chillies
The juice of one lime
1 t
sp caster sugar
Chaat masala
, to taste
Sea salt, to taste

Put all the chutney ingredients in a food processor with 35ml ice-cold water, blend to a smooth paste, add another 30ml ice-cold water and blend again. Scrape into a clean jar, seal and put in the fridge.

To spatchcock the chicken, put it breast side down on a board. Using a pair of strong kitchen scissors, cut out the backbone, starting from the arrowhead-shaped parson’s nose. Remove the bone, turn the chicken back over and press down firmly between the breasts with the flat of your hand. You’ll hear the wishbone snap and the chicken will flatten out.

For the marinade, mix the garlic, ginger, chillies, salt, spices, lime juice and yoghurt. Slather this all over the chicken, getting some under the skin, then cover and put in the fridge for at least four hours.

Take the chicken out of the fridge at least half an hour before you want to cook, season with salt and drizzle over half the melted ghee.

To cook on a barbecue, heat yours to medium. Lay the chicken breast side up on the grill rack, away from the hottest coals. Cover with the lid and cook for 25 minutes, checking the underside now and then ( if the chicken is blackening too much, move it to a cooler part of the barbecue or wrap in foil) and occasionally brush it with more ghee.

Turn over the chicken and cook for another 20 minutes, moving it around so different parts of the breast touch the grill. It’s done when a digital probe thermometer pushed into the thickest part of the meat reads 65C, or when the juices run clear when you pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a skewer.

Alternatively, heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4 and put the chicken skin side up in a roasting tin. Roast for about 40 minutes, then turn up the heat to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7 and cook for a further 10 minutes, until slightly charred and cooked through.

Once the chicken is cooked, put it on a board, leave it to rest for 10-15 minutes, then sprinkle with chaat masala to taste. Carve and serve with lime wedges, naan, salad and the chutney.

Grilled garlic naan

Shop-bought flatbreads are rarely as good as the ones you make at home, and the base of this no-fuss recipe is made from just a few store cupboard ingredients.

Prep 10 min
Rest 30 min +
Cook 20 min
Makes 6

1 garlic bulb
1 t
sp olive oil
1 tsp salt
, plus more for the garlic
Black pepper
50g melted ghee
, plus 1 tbsp for the dough
2 tbsp very finely chopped coriander
250g self-raising flour
greek yoghurt
1 tbsp melted ghee

Cut off and discard the very top of the garlic bulb and put it on a piece of foil. Drizzle over a little oil, season with salt and pepper, and wrap loosely in the foil so the whole bulb is covered. Place the garlic parcel on the grill of a hot barbecue for 15 minutes, or until soft. Let it cool for about 10 minutes, then squeeze the flesh out of the skins. Mix the garlic with the 50ml melted ghee and the coriander, then set aside. If you don’t have a barbecue, roast the garlic at 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6 for 20-25 minutes.

Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the yoghurt, one tablespoon of melted ghee and the teaspoon of salt, then knead to a soft dough and set aside to rest for half an hour.

Divide the dough into six and roll each piece out into a roughly 20-25cm oval or round. Place on the grill of a hot barbecue, cook for a couple of minutes, until puffed and golden, then flip over and cook for a further two minutes. Brush with the garlic coriander butter and serve warm.

To cook the naans without a barbecue, fry them in a hot dry non-stick frying pan or griddle for two minutes on each side, then brush with garlic ghee.

Watermelon kachumber

This is a refreshing accompaniment to the spicy chicken. To take it from a simple side to worthy of a lunchbox, add grains such as quinoa or couscous and maybe a crumble of feta or paneer.

Prep 15 min
Serves 6

500g watermelon, cut into small dice
4 Persian cucumbers, seeded and cut into small dice
Seeds from 1 large pomegranate
1 red onion
, finely chopped
A handful of finely chopped coriander
A handful of finely shredded mint leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Chaat masala
, to taste
Juice of 1 lime

In a large bowl, combine the watermelon, cucumbers, pomegranate, onion and herbs, season with sea salt, pepper and chaat masala, squeeze over the lime juice, toss and serve.

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