Possibly the most important question facing the cooking community as a whole today: “Is there a ‘Barbecue God’?”

I have recently been impressed by the Indian Elephant God, Ganesha.

Ganesha is often seen portrayed riding a mouse, and is the Hindu god of success and remover of all obstacles.

The current insurmountable obstacles for me are memory loss and a large nose. Could a Barbecue God help me out?

It seems as I get older, I get physically smaller and my nose gets larger, but I’m actually almost always happy when I’m awake because I can’t remember any of my problems.

Fortunately, none of the obstacles I face daily prevent me from knocking out a very nice barbecued tandoori chicken, because I have the recipe written down in large, easy-to-read print.

A tandoor is a traditional clay oven in which meat is cooked on long metal skewers. The skewers are placed through the top of the tandoor with one end of the skewer touching the bottom where the charcoal heat is conducted through the meat, cooking it from the inside while it is being seared on the outside.

Nan bread is also cooked on the inside of the tandoor by slapping the dough mixture onto the inside of the tandoor. It sags as it cooks giving it the teardrop shape.

The marinade of yogurt and spices is the most important part of good tandoori chicken.

To make the marinade, mix 250 ml plain yogurt, three tablespoons of mustard oil, nine cloves of crushed garlic, 1½ teaspoons of salt, 2½ teaspoons of paprika, 2½ teaspoons of ground cumin, 2½ teaspoons of ground coriander, 1½ teaspoons of ground ginger and a half teaspoon of food colouring powder — red, orange or yellow.

To prepare the chicken, skin it, make incisions and rub in the lemon or lime and salt letting stand for a half of an hour.

Rub the marinade thoroughly into the chicken, cover and let stand in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

Cook on medium high heat.

Serve on lettuce with onion rings or red peppers.

A tandoori chutney can easily be whipped up by combining three tablespoons of fresh lime juice, three tablespoons of minced peeled ginger, a half cup of chopped mint, three cups of seeded tomatoes and ¾ cup of chopped red onion. Mix it in a bowl, cover and let stand overnight in the fridge.

As an industry insider, I am often approached by admirers seeking culinary solutions to various life challenges. Questions such as: “When my chainsaw finally starts, a lot of thick black smoke emits from the muffler. What should I do?”

Excellent question. This occasion quite obviously calls for a mango salsa.

A simple tasty salsa can be made by mixing one cucumber — scrubbed, seeded and diced – three tablespoons of lime juice, half of a chopped jalapeño, half of a diced medium red onion, a quarter cup of chopped fresh cilantro and one peeled, seeded and diced mango in a non-reactive bowl.

Leave in the jalapeño seeds if you want it hot, and avocado can be used to temper the fire if it gets out of control.

March 24 2010, just in, hot off the OneIndia Press:

Bhut jolokia, the world’s spiciest chili, has been found fit for use in hand grenades by the Indian Army in the fight against terror. I know I feel safer.

Scoville units are the scientific measuring stick for chili’s spiciness in which classic Tabasco sauce measures 2,200 to 5,000 units, jalapeño peppers 2,500 to 8,000 units while bhut jolokia flames in at more than 1,000,000 units!!!

Remember to shop locally and moderate bhut jolokia usage carefully.