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Complex Flavors of India
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Complex Flavors of India

The classic dish Tandoori Chicken is a grilled chicken dish, cooked in an oven called a Tandoor, which is the vessel which many items are cooked in, whether it be chicken, lamb, and even breads.

To make tandoori chicken, the chicken is slit to allow the yogurt based marinade to impart a lot of flavor. The yogurt marinade included such things as garlic, cilantro, and a spice mixture known as masala. Masala is a spice mixture used in a lot of Indian recipes consisting of such things as coriander, onion, pepper, chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, garlic, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom. Each Indian masala recipe includes different spice mixtures and quantities, and can vary by region. Graham Masala, as well as Tandoori Masala, can be found in specialty food stores, so that these great recipes can be enjoyed at home. The yogurt mixture is put on the chicken, and lets it marinate overnight. Typically, the chicken would then be put in the tandoor to cook, which is a clay open oven where the items are placed on the inside, side of the oven to cook at temperatures reaching over 500 degrees. To mimic a tandoor at home, the chicken can be cooked in a very high heat cast iron skillet, or broiled at a high temperature until cooked through. Tandoori chicken is typically served with basmati rice.

A variation to tandoori chicken is another famous Indian recipe known as butter chicken. Although called butter chicken, the recipe included tandoori chicken, cut into pieces, and then braised in a rich tomato sauce spiced with masala, and cream added to provide richness, similar to butter.

Naan, is a classic item served with Indian cuisines such as chicken curry, and tandoori chicken. Naan, is a thin, non-leavened flatbread, which is chewy in texture. It is typically cooked similar to the chicken in a tandoor, but can be grilled at home to mimic the taste of the charred bread.

Chutneys are used to tame the intense heat of someĀ Indian recipes. Items such as mango or tamarind are often used to create sweet and savory condiments to compliment the various recipes. Raita is a cucumber based condiment, which is mixed with yogurt, lemon, and cilantro. If cilantro is replaced with dill, raita is known as tzatziki sauce in Greek cuisine. Raita is used to cool down the effect of the spicier Indian recipes it is known for.