Tandoori Chicken

8 Nov

Tandoori Chicken is high on my list of favorite Asian Indian dishes.  In fact, it is next in line after my all-time fave, Chicken Tikka Masala.  Tandoori chicken also a dish that traditionally requires a clay oven with the capacity to hit 900F.  Most of us will have to compromise and tweak things a bit in order to mimic the results of a high heat Tandoor oven.  What do to?

Tandoori Chicken

I was super excited to find a new Tandoori Chicken recipe that turns out phenomenal flavor, using just my humble little oven.  Though this isn’t an exact replica of what we’d get with a true Tandoor Oven chicken, it comes deliciously close…in fact, it’s tastier than many of the Tandoori Chicken versions we’ve eaten.  We all agreed that this recipe is a keeper; anytime the kids happily grub on a new recipe, it automatically goes into rotation!

Tandoori Chicken

This Tandoori Chicken is full of the rich and complex flavor that characterizes Asian Indian cuisine.  The simple cooking method results in chicken that is both tender and succulent.  If you allow the chicken to marinade at least 4 hours, the flavor will soak in beautifully.

Tandoori Chicken

My favorite thing about this Tandoori Chicken is how unbelievably easy it is to dish up!  The only part that takes planning ahead is the marinade time.  My other favorite thing is how healthy this yummy chicken is.  Packed with aromatic spices and whole yogurt, this mouth-watering chicken is absolutely guilt-free indulgence.  Serve with some fluffy Basmati rice and enjoy!


RECIPE (makes 16 drumsticks)


16 chicken legs/drumsticks (or 3 lbs other bone-in chicken pieces)
3 TB light olive oil
6 fresh garlic cloves, minced
1 TB ground ginger (or 2 TB freshly grated)
1 TB garam masala
1 1/2 TB smoked paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (not sweetened)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 2 limes) + extra wedges for garnish
2 1/2 tsp fine salt


Thoroughly dry chicken pieces.  Using a fork, deeply pierce each piece well, on all sides.  Set aside while you make the marinade.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add garlic and cook 30 seconds.  Stir in ginger, garam masala, paprika, cumin, and chili powder.  Cook 30 seconds longer.  Transfer half of garlic mixture to a medium bowl, stir in the yogurt, and add 2 TB fresh lime juice.  Set medium bowl in fridge until ready to use.

In a large bowl, combine remaining garlic mixture, remaining lime juice, and salt.  “Loosen” mixture a bit with a couple dashes of olive oil.   Transfer pierced chicken to this large bowl and rub mixture onto chicken until all pieces are evenly coated.  Cover tightly and put in fridge for 2-4 hours.  Remove from fridge 1 hour before you’re ready to cook, so it has time to get close to room temp.

Adjust oven rack to upper middle position and heat to 325F.  Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil.

One at a time, work yogurt mixture into each chicken piece so that each piece is thickly coated, including underneath the skin.  Place chicken onto baking sheet and pour any remaining yogurt mixture over the chicken.  Roast chicken 20-25 minutes, depending on size of pieces (125-130 degrees if using meat thermometer.)

Remove chicken from oven, and adjust oven rack 6 inches from top heat broiler.  Return chicken to oven rack, and broil until chicken is lightly charred in spots, about 8-12 minutes.  Each oven is different and chicken pieces vary in size, so watch carefully to ensure chicken does not burn.

Transfer chicken to serving plate, tent loosely with foil and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.  Serve with Basmati rice and lime wedges.

By chewoutloud, adapted from Cooks Illustrated cookbook


This Tandoori Chicken recipe does not use red food coloring, which is often added for that reddish hue you may recognize with other Tandoori Chicken recipes.  Add food coloring if you must, but we prefer ours without it.  The flavor is phenomenal either way.

If desired, you can place chicken on a wire rack set on top of baking sheet, rather than directly on baking sheet.

One Response to “Tandoori Chicken”

  1. Loulou November 15, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    This sounds like my cup of tea! Will try it soon and let you know.

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