Indian Cuisine: Tandoori Chicken

Chicken Tandoori If you like Indian cuisine, you may be familiar with Tandoori Chicken. It’s commonly served in Indian restaurants, characterized by its red color. Flavorful and succulent, it's easy to fall in love with this dish. Traditionally, the dish...

Chicken Tandoori
Chicken Tandoori

If you like Indian cuisine, you may be familiar with Tandoori Chicken. It’s commonly served in Indian restaurants, characterized by its red color. Flavorful and succulent, it's easy to fall in love with this dish. Traditionally, the dish is prepared in the Tandoori oven, a clay oven that can reach high temperatures, reputedly up to 900 degrees. The high heat ensures that the outside of the food is crispy, while the inside is tender and moist.

However, you don’t have to own a Tandoori oven to make this special dish. You can duplicate the effect by using a grill or baking it in the oven (then grilling it on high before taking it out).

It’s not difficult to make this dish. Choosing the right spices will give it that unique taste. Here’s a recipe you can easily follow:

Marinade:

  • 1 thumb-sized fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3” piece of fresh turmeric (or ¼ tsp of turmeric powder)
  • 1 tsp of cayenne or red chili powder (for color and heat)
  • ½ tsp of roasted cumin
  • ¼ tsp of grounded coriander
  • ¾ cup low-fat yogurt
  • 1 tbs of fresh lime juice
  • 1 ¼ tsp of salt
  • A few strands of saffron for added coloring (or a few drops of red coloring)

Other Essential Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of boneless chicken thigh or breast
  • ¼ cup melted butter or olive oil

Directions:

  1. Blend ginger, garlic, turmeric, red chilies, coriander, cumin, yogurt, lime juice, saffron, and salt until fine. You may have to add a little water to help the blending process.
  2. Remove skin from chicken and cut a few slits to allow marinade to seep in.
  3. Lay chicken in a single layer in a large non-reactive dish and pour marinade over it. Make sure each piece is well coated with marinade.
  4. Marinate the chicken for at least 3 to 4 hours.
  5. Use a charcoal grill for best results. Heat up coals until they're red hot. Place chicken in a single layer and allow 6 to 8 minutes on each side. When it’s done, baste with melted butter or olive oil and allow the outside to char a little for a smoky flavor (2 to 3 minutes).

You can garnish the Tandoori chicken with sliced onion, chopped cilantro and an extra squeeze of lime juice. Serve warm with basmati rice or a side of Naan bread.

Tandoori Chicken served in Naan bread
Tandoori Chicken served in Naan bread

Even though the recipe seems time consuming, it’s worth every bit of effort. Make extra and use the leftover meat for sandwiches, in wraps and casseroles. If you don’t have time to make the marinade, you can buy Tandoori seasoning from the local Asian store or online. As always, using the right cookware will make the task easier. For more information on Indian cuisine, contact us.