Make your own Tandoori Chicken at home in two easy steps.
Tandoori Chicken gets its name from the deep cylindrical clay oven, known as a tandoor, in which it is cooked. Pieces of chicken are pierced on long metal skewers and placed inside the tandoor to cook at around 480℃/900℉. The result is deliciously spiced, smokey roasted chicken which is succulent and has a slightly crispy exterior.
You can make delicious Tandoori Chicken at home. There are just two easy steps – first marinate the chicken in a masala paste and then roast in an oven or on a bbq.
Make a little extra, or keep leftovers aside to make this popular Butter Chicken.
The spices in the marinade add layers of flavour and colour to the chicken. The colour comes from the Kashmiri red chilli, turmeric and the Maillard reaction of the fats in the yogurt, oil and butter.
I don’t add red food colouring as I have never seen it being used by any of the good tandoori restaurants while growing up in India, and I feel that it makes tandoori chicken look less authentic.
Full-fat yogurt allows the fat-soluble flavours of the spices to permeate and flavour the chicken (low-fat yogurt will not be as effective). The acidity of the yogurt and lemon juice (or vinegar), softens and tenderises the chicken.
To prepare the chicken, remove the skin and cut into 4 or 8 pieces. I find smaller pieces are better for feeding the family and prevents waste.
Make long deep incisions in the thick parts of the chicken so that the marinade is able to penetrate well and the chicken cooks quickly. Then marinate the chicken for a minimum of 2 hours, to overnight for best flavour.
Cooking the chicken
The marinated chicken can be cooked in an oven, or on a BBQ, and is delicious either way.
Halfway through cooking, brush a little melted butter over the pieces of chicken, and cook for another few minutes. Then turn them over and brush again with butter before cooking till done. This gives a slight crispiness to the outside, while the interior remains moist.
The chicken is done when the juices run clear, or a cooking thermometer shows a reading of 74℃/165℉ (most reliable method).
Serve with a sprinkling of Chaat Masala (recipe card has Amazon affiliate link) and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, for mouth-watering tanginess.
Serve warm with a cilantro chutney and some warm naan.
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- 2 chickens each chicken cut into 8 pieces (skin removed)
- 3 tablespoons butter melted
Tandoori Masala Paste
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 3 cloves garlic grated or minced
- 1 inch ginger grated or minced
- 1 tablespoon Kashmiri chilli paste /Kashmiri chilli powder/ or 2 teaspoons Paprika + 1 teaspoon Cayenne powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons cumin ground
- 2 teaspoons coriander ground
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon mustard Dijon
- ¼ teaspoon kasuri methi (optional)
- salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon chaat masala powder
- ½ lemon cut into wedges
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the masala paste and set aside.
- Prepare the chicken by making deep incisions in the thickest parts of the meat to allow the flavours of the marinade to penetrate.
- Add the chicken to the masala paste, taking care to rub it into the incisions. Cover and chill for a minimum of 2 hours, to overnight.
Roast the chicken
- Bring the chicken to room temperature before cooking, then preheat the oven to 180℃/350℉.
- Arrange the chicken on a baking tray so that the pieces are not too close together. You might need to cook the chicken in batches.
- Cook for 15 minutes, then brush the chicken with butter and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.
- Turn the chicken over and brush with butter, then cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Garnish with chaat masala, lemon wedges and serve warm.
- Prepare the chicken by removing the skin and cut into 4 or 8 pieces.
- Make long deep incisions in the thickest part of each piece of chicken to allow the marinade to penetrate and flavour the chicken, and so that it cooks quickly.
- Marinate for 2 hours, to overnight for best flavour.
- The chicken can be cooked in an oven or on a bbq.
- Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Use any leftover Tandoori Chicken to make Butter Chicken.