I can still remember the first time I tasted tandoori chicken. I was a very little girl, newly arrived in London, and nothing so exotic had ever come my way before. We lived in a small basement flat in Bayswater and I had snuck out of bed, enticed by the happy noises of laughing parents and the pied piper smell of a takeaway curry. Open mouthed and on tiptoes I peered across a seemingly never-ending array of small dishes of aromatic food. A chicken drumstick was passed down from the table, wrapped in a knapkin to protect my fingers from the heat. I turned it slowly, transfixed by its fluorescent pink colour. Suspicious, I sniffed it closely. Yup, that certainly smelt like something I wanted to eat. I stared up at my parents for reassurance. Receiving a nod and a grin I bit down. The outside was blackened, crispy, but underneath the flesh was moist and falling off the bone. Steam rose into the air and I had to huff and puff to avoid burning my mouth. Oh boy, it was worth it – charred lemon and spice wrapped themselves around my tongue and engraved themselves into my memories.
So, despite my rantings about the joys of my first tandoori drumstick, you need to trust me that tandoori lamb doesn’t play second fiddle to no chicken. If you are cooking for a hungry hoard and just can’t pass up the opportunity for a meat feast then double up the marinade and throw in six chicken drumsticks and thighs.
Serve with a salad of pomegranate, pistachio and goats cheese coucous – http://wp.me/p2bdCS-2j
1 leg of lamb, butterflied
300g plain yoghurt
2 inch ginger, grated
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp coriander powder
3 tsp chilli flakes
Juice of one lemon
2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
Mix together the yoghurt, spices, ginger, garlic, lemon juice, coriander and chilli flakes.
Cover the lamb in the marinade, ensuring it is rubbed into all the nooks and crannies. Leave to chill in the fridge overnight to allow the lamb a chance to absorb the flavours from the marinade or for at least 2 hours.
Cook on a medium heat barbecue for about 20-30 minutes. Baste with any remaining marinade.