Tandoori chicken – baked inside the oven! For anyone who does not have a tandoor sitting within the middle in their kitchen. 🙂 The flavor infusion and the lovely crust from the marinade are sensational. Easy sub for Kashmiri Chilli, the best element that isn’t always offered at supermarkets.
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt (full fat best)
2 tbsp oil (any)
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp ginger, grated
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 tsp garam masala spice mix (Note 1)
1.5 tbsp Kashmiri chili powder (Note 2 subs)
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp cumin
2 1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp chili powder, adjust to taste (pure, not US chili Note 3)
1 tsp salt
1.2kg / 2.4lb drumsticks, bone-in skin-on chicken thighs or Marylands (whole chicken legs) (Note 4)
MINT YOGHURT (OPTIONAL)
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup mint leaves, packed
Salt and pepper
Mix Marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken, cover and marinate 12 to 24 hours (Note 5)
Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line a tray with foil and place a rack on the tray.
Remove chicken from the marinade, shaking off excess (reserve Marinade), and place on the rack. Bake for 20 minutes, then slather Marinade generously on both sides.
Bake for a further 10 minutes, brush/dab top with Marinade.
Bake further 10 minutes, do a final baste with Marinade then spray with oil.
Increase heat to 220C/450F. Bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes until you get some nice charred spots. Serve with Minted Yogurt and Saffron Rice (below)!
Combine ingredients in a food processor and blitz until mint is very finely chopped.
Preheat BBQ with the closed lid to medium, brush grills lightly with oil. Place bone-in skin-on chicken skin side down on grills, cook 5 min until the surface is just caramelized – no more.
Baste, then flip. Baste, then close lid. Cook for 20 minutes or until internal temperature is 175F/80C (bone-in thighs and drumsticks), basting once or twice more.
1. Garam Masala is an Indian spice mix that you can purchase in dried herbs and spices section of supermarkets. It costs the same as other spices. The spices in it include cardamon, coriander, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
SUB with curry powder (like Keens, Clives of India) + 1 tsp All Spice (or 1/8 tsp extra of all the other spices in the recipe plus 1/8 tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger)
2. Kashmiri Chilli – found at Indian grocery stores, gives tandoori chicken the red color and bit of spiciness. Tastes like spicy paprika. Easy sub with 3 tsp paprika (smoked if possible, otherwise sweet or normal) + few drops of red food coloring (if you want slightly more red color).
This is the one I use (Amazon USA link, but I got mine from a Sydney Indian store. Here is a better value one on Amazon USA.
Use in place of paprika in Indian recipes such as Biryani and Chicken Tikka Masala for an earthy, authentic flavor. It’s almost a direct sub with paprika – except it’s a bit spicy.
3. Chilli Powder – This is pure ground chili powder and it’s spicy. This is not US/Canadian Chili Powder which is a spice mix with South Western/Tex Mex flavors. Sub: cayenne pepper, or leave it out if you want mild.
4. Chicken – best made with bone-in thighs, drumsticks and wings as they require 50 min or so which gives you a nice tandoori crust. For boneless thighs, bake 25 minutes, for breast, bake 22 min – or better yet, BBQ on grills or cook on the stove!
5. Marinating – for the emergency marinade, make 2 or 3 slashes in the chicken and marinate 2 to 3 hours. It can also freeze the chicken with the marinade (raw). Then when you want to cook it, allow it to defrost then simply follow the recipe.
5. Saffron Rice (serves 5) – Soak 1/8 tsp saffron threads in 1/4 cup (65ml) boiled water for 5 min. Add saffron water to a large saucepan with 2 cups (500ml) cold water and 1.5 cups basmati rice. Cover, bring to simmer over medium-high, then reduce heat to medium-low so it’s simmering. Cook 12 minutes until water is absorbed (tilt pot to check), remove from stove and stand for 10 minutes covered.
To use imitation saffron powder (much better value) use 1/16th tsp and add to saucepan with 2 1/4 cups (565ml) water, cook per above (I did this for rice in photos, was out of saffron threads)
6. Recipe source – Inspired by Qmin Indian cookbook, a restaurant I used to frequent in my corporate days. Also by referencing the packets of tandoori spice mixes sold at Indian grocery stores (I’m told by Indian store owners that most Indians make Tandoori chicken using tandoori spice mixes!).
7. Tandoori Chicken nutrition per serving.