Mrs. Dandamooti’s Tandori Chicken Legs

Sunday August 21, 2016

Mrs. Dandamooti was one of my good friend and cookbook author Jacquie McMahan’s fellow soccer moms years ago. At one of the post-game feeds for the team, she made these spicy-red oven-roasted drumsticks, which were promptly hailed one of the all-time favorites by the boys. Jacquie had the recipe scribbled down and never worked out all these years, but talked about the scrumptuous tandori paste coating for chicken.  Mrs. Dandamooti gave Jacquie a jar of the brick-red tandori paste mixture and after she told me about them, I searched out a jar for myself (such as Patek brand). I was thrilled my local supermarket had a little Indian foods section and there was the paste front and center. While it has some red food dye, the paste is all luscious ingredients and mixed up with fresh ginger, it is very intoxicating indeed.Removing the skin from your chicken legs before cooking may seem like a waste of potentially crisp deliciousness, but it helps the marinade penetrate the meat more easily, as does making deep slashes in the meat before marinating.

Recommended Size: 4 to 6 quart oval cooker

Machine Setting: Low

Cook Time: 6 1/2 to 8 hours on LOW, 4 hours on HIGH

Serves 4 to 6


One 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated

1 clove garlic

1 lemon or lime, juiced

3 tablespoons jarred tandoori paste

1 1/2 cups (250g) plain yogurt

1/4 teaspoon garam masala

Few pinches sea salt

12 (4 ounce) chicken legs, rinsed and patted dry, skin removed

1 yellow onion, sliced thick


In a food processor, combine the ginger, garlic, and lemon and pulse until a smooth paste forms, 1 minute.   Add the tandori paste, yogurt, spice, and salt. Combine the chicken with the tandoori marinade thoroughly in a ceramic bowl or ziploc bag. Cover and leave to marinate 4 hours to overnight in the fridge. Turn to coat.

Remove the chicken from the marinade; It will be coated.  Spray the crock with nonstick vegetable cooking spray and arrange the onion slices in the bottom with the chicken legs in a single layer on top. Pour any of the leftover tandori paste marinade into the crock over the chicken  Cover and cook on LOW for 6 1/2 to 8 hours, until the drumsticks tender and cooked through, or on HIGH for 4 hours. Serve immediately with basmati rice, lemon or lime wedges, coriander leaves, a “raita” and naan.

Qui’s Basmati Pilaf

Qui was a Vedantic nun in the early 1960s and learned the intricacies of cooking the then-unheard-of-in-American-homes basmati rice, a favorite in the ashram kitchen.   This is a delicious, most basic pilaf, one you will use alot.

Serves 3 to 4


2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup basmati rice

1 1/2 cups water

Dash of fine sea salt


Place the rice in a fine strainer or bowl, rinse with cold water, and drain two to four times.  The water will be chalky and slightly foamy.  Spread the wet rice out with your hands on a clean tea towel on the counter.  Let air-dry at least 1 hour, until cooking time.

Place the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  When melted, add the rice and cook, stirring, until all the grains are evenly coated, just ever so slightly golden, and hot.  Add the water and salt.  Stir and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan tightly, set a timer, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed.  Remove the covered pan from the heat and let stand 10 minutes without removing the lid.  Remove the lid and fluff the rice gently with a fork.

Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2016

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.

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