I just had my first experience with Indian food, on a restaurant called Raja Rani (Friedrichstrasse, 15, Heidelberg/Germany) and, although I don’t have any parameter for a fair comparison, I enjoyed it. The chosen dish to start this experience was the famous chicken tandori masala.
I’m quite sure everyone knows what a chicken is, although I can’t even imagine how many do know that it’s a member of the Phasianidae family of the species Gallus gallus. Anyway, I’ll not waste my time (or yours) talking about that. On the other hand, I’m also not sure of how many of you do know the meaning of either “tandori” or “masala”.
Tandori refers to a traditional way of preparing food in several Middle East countries, as well as in India and Bangladesh. It’s based on the “tandoor”, a cylindrical vertical clay oven where the heat is generated by charcoal or wood fire. That’s where the traditional chicken tandori is cooked.
Masala is a mixture of spices, with variations throughout India, usually containing cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, chili and turmeric (curcuma) yellow. In this case it’s a mixture used to cook in the tandoor, hence, “tandori masala”.
For this dish, typical of the Punjabi cuisine, the chicken is covered with a mixture of yogurt and the tandoori masala, and then slowly roasted in the tandoor.
It’s usually served with Basmati rice, a long grain delicate rice grown mainly in India and Pakistan.
I really enjoyed the dish, the chicken was tender and the sauce full of taste. It mixed quite well with the Basmati rice, kind of breaking its natural delicate taste. The price was also quite interesting, around US$ 5,00 for a small portion, which was more than enough for a single person.