Thursday, August 07, 2008

Eating Tandoori Chicken in Chennai

When I tell my colleagues that I like going to India, many of them think I'm nuts; twenty hours on a plane and all that air and noise pollution surely can't be fun. My response is usually something like, "I think the food is great and I get to experience things that are unique to that part of the world; India is a fascinating country. And, I like the solitude on the plane." They still think I'm nuts.

Even though I'm in India on business, the trip tends to be all about the food for me. Dinners are usually at restaurants in five-star hotels in the city, like Peshwari in the Sheraton Chola or Lotus Thai in The Park hotel. When we work late at the office, we usually eat at our own hotel, the Fortune Select Palms, in the Zodiac restaurant/lounge. The Zodiac offers a variety of foods, including a buffet full of delicious Indian offerings. My favorite dish however is on the menu, the tandoori chicken, India's version of barbecued chicken. Sure the hotel is in the south and tandoori is a traditionally found in the north, but this chicken is GOOD. It is a statler chicken breast, which means it is the boneless breast of chicken with a drumette attached, covered in spicy goodness, cooked in a Tandoor oven, and served with a wedge of lime and some carrot and cabbage slaw.

I ate this chicken twice during my last visit to India in March and I can't wait to go back and have it again. The chicken is tender, the rub is spicy, and the accompanying mint chutney (not pictured) offers both a cooling and flavorful touch to this dish.

On my next trip I'm going to explore the food stalls that line Old Mahabalipuram Road outside of my office; I may need some Pepto afterwards, but I hope it will be worth it. Remember when you're traveling, follow your nose...and your stomach. Be adventurous in life and at the dinner table.

Author's note: I'm raising money for the The Jimmy Fund and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to support my recent ride in the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge bike ride. Will you make a donation to support the advancement of cancer research and administration of life-saving cancer treatments?


  1. That looks really terrific. A piece of good tandoori chicken is hard to beat.

  2. Hi Pancake, this was seriously good tandoori chicken! I can't wait to go back for more :)