Friday, January 23, 2009

Tandoori Nights

Gosh no, I am not talking about the song! I am talking about those Thursday nights ages ago when my sister and I would wait for an electricity cut. Waiting for an electricity cut...did i just say 'waiting for electricity cut'? Well, yes.

Electricity cuts were pretty much the norm almost every Thursday evening in the small town that I grew up in. Like everyone else, for the longest of time, we hated those electricity cuts as well. It meant missing the weekly Chhayageet* on Doordarshan* (after all, back then we didn't have too much of a choice in TV programs, did we?).

But one day a dhaba* opened in the vicinity of our house. And one such Thursday, when the power was out, my dad went and got some tandoori chicken from there. Sitting there in the balcony, with a few candles burning, the smell of kachuaa chaap, Vividh Bharati* belting out some hindi songs, eating the succulent chicken was an amazing experience.

Soon our attitude to those much hated power cuts changed. Now, we'd wait for the power cut - it wasn't as if papa wouldn't have bought the chicken any other day if we'd have asked him to - but there was something magical about eating it on the power cut nights.

And even now, whenever I eat tandoori chicken, no matter where I am or with whom I am, my mind goes back to those lovely Thursday tandoori chicken nights.


Chicken - 6 legs, skinless

for the marinade:

Juice of 1 lemon
Thick yoghurt - 1/2 cup
Cream - 3 tbsps
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tbsps
Red chilli powder, tandoori chicken masala, salt - to taste
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Orange colour - a few drops
Oil for basting

Coal - 1 large piece
Ghee - 1 tbsp


Mix all the ingredients for the marinade and let the chicken marinate for at least 6-8 hrs (the longer, the better).

Just before grilling, heat the coal till it becomes red hot. Place in a small steel bowl and place the bowl in the centre of the vessel with the marinating chicken. Pour the ghee on top of the coal and when it starts smoking, cover the vessel tightly for about 5 mins. This gives the tandoori chicken a lovely smoky flavour.

Grill till the juices run clear as per your oven/microwave instructions.

I serve this with a spicy onion salad. Just slice the onions, add salt, sugar, lime juice, chopped green chillies, coriander leaves and mango pickle.

(*chhayageet - a weekly programme featuring songs from Bollywood movies broadcast on the national TV channel Doordarshan.

Vividh bharati - radio channel

kachuaa chaap - mosquito repellent

dhaba - small open air restaurants, usually found along highways catering mainly to truck drivers)


  1. I love tandoori chicken, one of my fav dish.
    This looks so yumm.

  2. tandoori..n m sold!

    the chicken looks gud

  3. It is memories like these that makes food so interesting.

    Tandoori chicken looks delicious, who can resit those.

  4. yummy looking chicken, aquadaze! loved reading abt ur special blackout nights!! :-) feels warm when u read such memories!! :-)

  5. I remember Chaayageet and another program called Chitrahaar that we used to look forward to, and if the songs on the show were not good we used to be so disappointed...:-)Nice post...enjoyed reading it :-)

  6. Whener I see those star restau with a small light in each table and sombre surrounding I use to think of power cut!
    Tandoori is our family favo too... tempting one!

  7. Sweet memories are always makes us so happy. Have something for you to make you refreshing

  8. There's a song?
    Thank you for the recipe, and the lesson ;) I've always wondered if there was a way to get that distinctive red colour without resorting to food colouring. Would you know?

  9. Thanks you guys for dropping in! Dee, my mum used to put some beet juice to give it a red color, Kashmiri red chilli also imparts a great color, but honestly, I've got this color only by using artificial color. Anyone out there can shed some light on this?

  10. Yummy tandoori chicken..i love this..i have send my entry for Lets go nut, hope u have received my entry na..

  11. Thanks priya for visiting my blog and for your entry as well...but no, I haven't received the mail! Maybe you can send the mail again?

    Premy, thanks for visiting, hope to see you here regularly

  12. So many of our memories are associated with food isn't it? :)
    reading your post, I feel like eating some tandoori chicken from a dhaba now... :)

  13. beautiful pics your words drew... :-) haven't heard anyone who eats chicken & does not like tandoori chicken. Looks great!

    dhabas have their own taste don't they:-)

  14. you said it does trigger so many memories!

    yes soma, there's something special about a dhaba..haven't even seen one in ages now!

  15. :) I'm a vegetarian, but I do undersand what you mean by power-cut meals :D

  16. Loved ur story..truly get it in all ways..:)
    I did make it in oven one day..urs look so perfect..:)

  17. I love tandoori chicken lot. Nice ost and looks gud.


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