Tandoori chicken is a roasted dish marinated to perfection in two different sauces. While it is traditionally prepared in a clay oven, this recipe is perfectly designed to be just as moist and flavorful made at home. Gobble tandoori up by itself, or use this as a base to make Indian Butter Chicken—but just don’t forget the naan and basmati rice!
|pounds||bone-in chicken pieces (2 legs, 2 thighs and breasts, halved)*|
|Marinade 1: Chili-lime|
|6||tablespoons||freshly squeezed lime juice|
|~||optional||red-orange food coloring mixed with a small amount of water, for painting|
|Marinade 2: Spiced yogurt|
|1||cup||thick, Greek-style yogurt|
|1||tablespoon||fresh ginger, finely grated**|
|1||teaspoon||freshly ground black pepper|
* American chickens are much meatier than those in India. This recipe works with birds up to 5 pounds.
** Prepared ginger and garlic will work in a pinch, but fresh is always best.
Prepare the chicken
Cut three deep, diagonal gashes in each leg, thigh and breast quarter. Reserve chicken until marinade is prepared.
Note: Cutting the chicken in this manner serves two purposes. It allows the marinade to penetrate the flesh properly and also promotes quicker cooking.
Marinade 1: 15 minutes
- Whisk the lime juice, cayenne and salt in a medium bowl.
- Add the chicken pieces and turn to coat each thoroughly with marinade. Using clean hands, rub the marinade into the gashes made earlier.
- Using a pastry brush, paint the chicken pieces with red-orange food coloring, if desired.
- Set aside while you prepare the spiced yogurt marinade.
Marinade 2: 24 hours
Have a wire-mesh strainer ready for step 2.
- Combine the yogurt, onion, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, coriander, cumin, turmeric, salt, black pepper and garam masala in a blender. Cover and blend until smooth.
- Pour the marinade through a wire mesh strainer set over a spacious bowl. Discard any remaining pulp.
- Add the chicken and coat generously with this marinade, being sure to work it into the gashes. Cover with plastic wrap and set in refrigerator for 24 hours.
Note: A large zip-lock bag also works very well and saves space in the refrigerator.
Cook the chicken
- Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.
- Set oven rack to highest position. Pre-heat the oven to 450°F.
- Using clean hands, wipe away any excess marinade from the chicken.
- Place the chicken pieces on the rack of a grill pan.
Note: The chicken can also be placed on a metal cake rack set on top of a baking sheet.
- Bake chicken for 15 minutes. Flip all pieces and cook for another 20–25 minutes, until the juices run clear.
Note: It is normal for some edges of the chicken to blacken. However, be careful not to overcook the chicken.
- Remove from the oven and let chicken rest for 15 minutes.
- Arrange on a platter and decorate with cilantro sprigs and quartered limes.