Tangdi Kabab/ Kebab - Grilled Chicken Drumsticks

Though kababs/ kebabs originated in Persia, India has it's own share of varieties. Tangdi kabab is one such appetizer served in parties and family gatherings. Kababs made on skewers are sometimes called 'Tangdi Kabab'. I beg to differ. In that case, it's just plain tikka as 'Tangdi' simply means leg of the chicken. Heard of 'Kabab mein haddi' ( a phrase referring to a person who interferes in someone's work ). Well, Tangdi Kabab needs the annoying 'Haddi' (bone). Ideally, a tandoor (clay oven) fired by charcoal is used to grill these marinated appendages. As I don't have one, I used the regular oven in my kitchen. Chicken drumsticks marinated in yogurt and spices, baked and broiled yields mildly spicy and flavor infused succulent chicken kababs.

Indian Celeb Chef Sanjeev Kapoor has been my inspiration for Indian cooking. In my view, no one cooks Indian like him. One of the first gifts that PR gave me was a set of 8 cookbooks by Sanjeev Kapoor. Well, these books were untouched for the past half decade or more. Now, dusted and displayed in my book shelf these cookbooks serve as my cooking guide. I picked up this recipe and tweaked to suit my taste. I made 'Tangdi Kebab' for a weekend meal. Most of the meaty numbers are prepared over weekends in my household, a practice by many flexitarians like me. Served with pilau and raita, these kababs complete a sumptuous meal.

The original recipe calls for 6-7 green chillies. Unless, I want my lungs on fire I will not add that much heat. 1 teaspoon chilli powder gave the right amount of heat for us. You can adjust as per preference. I used homemade garam masala powder which is potent and very flavorful. If you use store bought garam masala, add 1 teaspoon. Do not use curry powder that has so many extra spices which is not needed for this recipe. It adds volume to the marinade instead of flavor. I've also reduced the amount of ginger-garlic paste.

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Serves 4

8 Chicken drumsticks (lower joint of chicken legs)

1/2 tablespoon Lemon juice (freshly squeezed/ bottled)

1 cup Yogurt (drained and thick) * I use non-fat strained greek yogurt

3 teaspoons Ginger-garlic paste

2 tablespoons Besan/ Gramflour

1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon Garam masala powder

1 teaspoon Red chilli powder

2 Green chillies (minced)

1 teaspoon Chaat masala (optional)

Oil for greasing

Salt to taste

Lemon wedges and sliced onion to garnish

Method

  • Prepare chicken drumsticks - Grab the chicken thigh with a paper towel. This keeps it from slipping. Hold the meaty end of the thigh and pull the skin down. Using a sharp knife, trim the skin at the joint and excess fat adhering to the drumstick. Hold the chicken pieces under running water and wash thoroughly.
  • Pat dry with a kitchen towel to remove moisture. Wash hands to prevent bacterial contamination.
  • Slash the meaty portion to make three deep slits. This helps in absorbing the marinade. Brush the drumsticks with lemon juice and keep aside.
  • If the yogurt is not thick, tie it in a cheesecloth and hang it for about half an hour to drain excess liquid. Greek yogurt is usually thick, so I didn't do this.
  • Prepare the marinade - Dry roast the besan on low heat taking care not to burn it. Remove from heat once it starts emitting a nutty and fragrant aroma. Cool it slightly. In a bowl, mix the roasted besan, yogurt, turmeric powder, ginger-garlic paste, green chillies, red chilli powder, garam masala powder and salt.
  • Coat each drumstick with this mixture and preserve the balance marinade. Place all the drumsticks in a shallow bowl, cover it and marinate for at least 2 hours. Overnight marination is the best. That gives time for the chicken to take in the spices while the yogurt tenderizes the meat.
  • The marinated chicken drumsticks can be roasted over a tandoor or grilled in an oven or even pan fried. Preheat the oven to 425° F/220° C, as I used an the oven method.
  • Prepare a baking sheet with an aluminium foil and grease with oil. Arrange the drumsticks on the baking sheet.
  • Place the baking sheet in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then, lower the oven temperature to 390° F/200° C and bake till done. This took about 30 minutes.
  • Flip the drumsticks a few times so as to bake all sides evenly. If left to bake without turning sides, one side sticks to the foil and gets ripped when removed from the baking sheet.
  • As you turn sides of the drumstick, brush the reserved marinade on all sides. The starch granules in the besan swells as the drumstick gets baked. This will produce a thick layer of coating of marinade. Brushing the marinade forms a uniform coating.
  • If you desire the grilled look for the kababs, run the drumsticks under the broiler for 3-5 minutes keeping the oven door ajar. Keep an eye as you may over do the broiling resulting in charred drumsticks.

Sprinkle chaat masala and garnish with lemon wedges. Wrap the joint end of the drumsticks with foil for easy serving. Serve hot immediately.

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