Spice up the warmer weather this spring and summer with tandoori chicken. This versatile dish is both a traditional staple in Indian food as well as a favorite here at Little India of Denver, and we’re looking forward to sharing it with you. Here are a few things to know about tandoori chicken, its history, and how to enjoy it.
What is Tandoori Chicken?
If the name sounds a bit familiar, it probably is: Tandoor is the name for the traditional oven that is also used to cook flatbread like naan. You can probably guess that tandoori chicken is cooked in the tandoor too, but first, it is marinated in yogurt and spices such as cayenne, garlic, ginger, and perhaps turmeric and paprika, depending on the desired spiciness. These spices turn the chicken a distinctive bright red color. The high heat of the tandoor crisps the chicken on the outside, while leaving it juicy and flavorful inside.
Tandoori Chicken: A History
Tandoori chicken dates back almost a hundred years, to the Mughal period. The story goes that this way of cooking chicken was invented by a restaurant owner in Pakistan to keep his customers coming back. He later brought the recipe with him to India, where he started a new restaurant. It became popular in America in the 1960s, along with many other dishes of India, after many influential people visited his restaurant in Delhi.
Appetizer or Main Dish?
If you haven’t ordered tandoori chicken at an Indian restaurant before, you may be wondering whether it should be eaten as an appetizer or a main dish. Many favorite Indian dishes are appetizers, but this versatile dish can actually be eaten either way. When eaten as an appetizer, you’ll find the chicken alone, but as a main dish, it is typically eaten with naan, an Indian flatbread that is also cooked in the tandoor. Tandoori chicken may also be used as the base for other well-known recipes, such as butter chicken.
Indian Dining at its Finest
There’s a reason why Little India of Denver has been hailed as the best Indian food in Denver for many years running. Stop in at one of our locations, either Sixth Avenue or Downing Street, and try our house favorite, tandoori chicken. We also offer a selection of all the most popular dishes of India, from the healthiest Indian dishes to other traditional favorites. Visit us today and see what all the fuss is about!