Tandoori Chicken is a lip-smacking, soft, juicy, and flavourful dry chicken dish from the Indian subcontinent, and it happens to be that one dish that a party or gathering just cannot do without.
About This Recipe
Tandoori Chicken is a popular North Indian delicacy prepared by roasting chicken; marinated in yogurt and spices in a clay oven or tandoor.
Chicken legs and thighs marinated in thick yogurt, with a dash of lime and sprinkle of traditional Indian spices, grilled nicely in a tandoor is no doubt a heart whelming chicken dish you can ever treat yourself with.
It is also marinated twice, therefore the flavours are just beautiful in this dish. You will just say ‘WOW’ when you take that first bite with green chutney and some sliced onions.
It was traditionally made in a clay oven or Tandoor, but since the modern homes do not have clay oven anymore, my recipes show you how to make it in an oven, air fryer, or in a pan over the stovetop.
Cooking in an oven or stove top, gives it a nice smoky flavour too.
Here are some more Chicken Starter recipes, that you can serve for your house parties – Indo Chinese Chilli Chicken, Chicken Malai Boti, Chicken Cheese Balls, Chicken Malai Tikka and Chicken Cheese Samosa.
This Chicken Recipe is
- Easy to make
- Finger Licking Good
- Restaurant/ Dhaba Style
- No artificial Color
- Low carb
Chicken – I have taken chicken thighs with legs to make tandoori chicken. You can choose to use only legs or even boneless chicken cut in small cubes.
For the first marination, we will need salt, lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, and Kashmiri red chilli powder. The first marination makes the chicken tender and juicy when cooked.
For the second marination, we need hung curd. It is nothing but thick yogurt. You can use greek yogurt in place of it. If you have plain yogurt, you can hang it in a muslin cloth for a few hours so that a lot of liquid is discarded and then use it.
Hung curd is advised as it sticks to the chicken pieces and binds all the spices with it.
You will also need ginger garlic paste, lemon juice, and dry spices like Kashmiri red chilli powder, roasted cumin powder, garam masala powder, turmeric powder, and coriander powder.
To make authentic tandoori chicken, use mustard oil in the marination. It gives a very traditional taste to it. If mustard oil is not available, you can use any other oil.
Finally, adding some kasuri methi and fresh cream gives it a restaurant like the taste. Some people add artificial food colour in this recipe but since it’s not healthy to use them, I refrain from adding them in my recipes.
Step by Step Recipe
Wash the chicken and pat the pieces dry using a kitchen tissue. Make 3-4 slits on each piece using a sharp knife.
Mix the ingredients for the first marinade and apply it nicely on the chicken legs. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 5-6 hours.
Add the ingredients for the second marinade in a bowl and coat the chicken with it.
Cover the bowl and refrigerate for another 4-5 hours.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Set a dripping tray on the lower half of the oven. Set a wire rack above the dripping tray. Arrange the chicken on the wire rack and grill for 20 minutes.
Turn the chicken legs and again grill for 15-20 minutes, until they are done. Bast (Brush) the chicken with butter while grilling. Remove from oven and brush with butter. Sprinkle chaat masala on top. Serve hot with lemon wedges and onion slices.
Frequently Asked Questions
Chicken legs and thighs have more fat content as compared to any part of the chicken and hence they are best to make tandoori chicken. When made using thighs and legs, it is moist, juicy, and super flavourful.
If you are looking for a healthier option, you can use chicken breasts.
Chicken is marinated twice while preparing Tandoori chicken. Firstly, we marinate it with some common salt, lemon juice, ginger and garlic paste, and Kashmiri red chilli powder and keep it aside for 20 minutes. You can add a tsp of raw papaya paste to make it even more tender.
Then we go on to preparing our second marinade (ingredients of which are specified below) and coating the chicken legs completely with the marinade and refrigerating it for about a minimum of 4-5 hrs.
The longer you marinate the chicken, the better the flavors soak into it. I like to leave the second marination for as long as 24 hours.
It is the presence of Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder and food-grade red colour (optional), which makes tandoori chicken look bright red in colour. When making it at home, you can avoid using the food colour as I have done.
Tandoori chicken is popular not just because of its amazing taste but also because it is very healthy. Since the dish is made either in a tandoor or in an oven, it helps in retaining all the nutrients of the dish.
It needs very less oil to make it and if you are too conscious about the healthy part, you can totally skip the oil in the recipe. This flour-free dish is gluten-free and is low in carbohydrates making it a perfect Keto friendly dish.
It is an absolute treat for the people who are on a diet as it is super delicious and rich in protein.
For those who don’t have clay oven or a convection oven. No Worries!! You can still treat yourself and your loved ones with a tasty and delicious Tandoori Chicken.
After properly marinating the chicken twice, roast the chicken legs in a hot pan along with 4-5 tbsp of oil on a medium to high flame. Cover the pan while cooking the chicken.
Flip the pieces after 4-5 minutes so that they are cooked from both sides. Remove the cover and cook on high heat until all the liquid is evaporated.
When the chicken gets completely dry, just place the pieces on a wire rack greased with oil and cook them on a high flame by placing the wire rack directly on the gas stove.
When the chicken is grilled for about 2-3 minutes, turn off the flame and your tasty Tandoori chicken will be ready without an oven. This would ensure complete and proper infusion of all the spices in the dish and would give it a nice smoky flavour.
To make it in Air Fryer, marinate the chicken as mentioned in the recipe below. Then line the basket of the air fryer with aluminium foil.
Pre heat to 230 degrees C. Place the chicken on the basket and air fry for 18-20 minutes, until slightly charred and browned.
Yes, it is very hot, spicy and delicious. But you can always adjust the amount of spiciness according to your taste and preference.
In Chicken Tikka, small pieces of Chicken are used, which are speared by a skewer along with vegetables, whereas in Chicken Tandoori, whole Chicken or Chicken legs are marinated in a spicy masala and cooked in a Tandoor or Oven.
Grilled Tandoori Chicken makes for a fabulous appetiser. Serve it with Coriander Mint Chutney or Mint Yogurt Chutney and onion rings. Do not forget to serve lemon wedges, thinly sliced onions and some chaat masala along.
It goes really well with any type of Indian flatbreads which might include Roti, Naan, Tawa Paratha, Lachha Paratha, Roomali Roti and others. You can serve this delicious dish with some Saffron Rice as well.
Also, a nice green salad and some Indian rice perfectly complement it well.
You cannot freeze the chicken once it is grilled or cooked. But you can definitely freeze the marinated chicken for up to 2 months. Just transfer the marinated chicken along with the marinade in freezer-safe bags and freeze.
When you want to cook it, remove the bag from the freezer and let it thaw on the kitchen counter and then grill as mentioned.
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Tandoori Chicken Recipe
- 4 Chicken Legs with Thighs
For the first marination
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Lemon Juice
- 2 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 tsp Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder
For the second marination
- 2 tbsp Hung Curd
- 1 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 tsp Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder
- ½ tsp Black Pepper Powder
- ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
- ½ tsp Cumin Powder
- ½ tsp Garam Masala Powder
- 1 tsp Coriander Powder
- 2 tbsp Mustard Oil
- 1 tsp Lemon Juice
- 2 tbsp Fresh Cream
- 1 tbsp Kasuri Methi
- 1 tbsp Butter
- 1 tsp Chaat Masala
- Lemon Wedges
- Onion Slices
- Wash the chicken and make 3-4 slits on each piece using a sharp knife.
- Mix the ingredients for the first marinade and apply it nicely on the chicken legs.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 5-6 hours.
- Add the ingredients for the second marinade in a bowl and coat the chicken with it.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for another 4-5 hours.
- Pre heat the oven to 180 degree C.
- Set a dripping tray on the lower half of the oven.
- Set a wire rack above the dripping tray.
- Arrange the chicken on the wire rack and grill for 20 minutes.
- Turn the chicken legs and again grill for 15-20 minutes, until they are done.
- Bast the chicken with butter while grilling.
- Remove from oven and brush with butter.
- Sprinkle chaat masala on top.
- Serve hot with lemon wedges and onion slices.