This is a short-cut version of the Punjabi recipe. The chicken is not marinated in yogurt ahead of time, but it does have all the spicy goodness of the original. This version is also not spicy-hot, although you could add in a bit of cayenne pepper if you’d like to make it so.
You will be making a yogurt-based spice mix with the traditional spices, that will be brushed on before placing in a hot (450° F) oven for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken drumsticks. This recipe is based on one I found on Food and Wine’s website, but I made a number of changes to keep it more simple. They recommend running the cooked chicken under the broiler to crisp the skin, but I found after just 30 minutes, or so, of cooking the skin was plenty crisp and light, so I skipped that step. It was also charcoal-y, like it had been grilled or come out of a real, live tandoori oven. The best part is that the meat was tender, almost like fried chicken, but not at all greasy.
I also did not add oil to the yogurt-spice mixture and found that rolling the chicken around in the yogurt-spice mix left too much of the mixture on the chicken so that it dripped through the rack and onto the pan. Not good because I needed all of it for the chicken! So brush it on both sides while the chicken is on the rack. That puts the right amount of spice on the drumsticks with no wasted drippings. And, like I said, watch the chicken because it may cook much faster than you expect. Mine did. I also switched around the trays half-way through because the top rack was cooking faster than the bottom one.
Here’s a link to the original recipe in case you don’t trust me. But seriously, my version is better. Trust me…