Chicken Tandoori

It’s not red/orange because you don’t use any food coloring and well, I don’t have a tandoor oven or BBQ.

This moist, delicious, and simply NOM recipe has an equally interesting history. There is also an alternative recipe on that site.

This is as homemade as you can get without buying the Tandoori sauce from somewhere like Trader Joe's.

Prep Time: 8 hours, 45 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes

  • 1 (3-pound) chicken, cut into serving pieces, skinned and trimmed of all visible fat DSC_0010
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup plain yogurt (start with 1/2 and add more yogurt to taste. Yogurt will cool the heat of the spices)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and grated or crushed ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (an equal amount of all-spice can be substituted for the coriander, cardamom, and cloves – that would be 1.5 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • optional spices : cayenne or paprika for heat, turmeric for color
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing
  • Fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish, slices of cucumber, red onion, tomato and lemon

  1. DSC_0015 Prick the flesh of the chicken all over with a fork. Then, using a sharp knife, cut slashes in the flesh to allow the marinade to penetrate. Place the chicken in a large glass or plastic shallow dish.
  2. In a glass or plastic bowl, combine the yogurt, lemon juice or vinegar, garlic, ginger, cumin, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, cardamom, cloves, black pepper and salt (and any optional spices). Stir until well-mixed, then pour the mixture over the chicken and rub it into the flesh, turning the chicken several times. 
  3. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. (Do not marinate for longer than 2 days.) Remove the chicken from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking.
  4. The chicken may be grilled or roasted. If using a charcoal grill, prepare a fire for direct-heat cooking. Position the grill rack 5 inches from the fire. Allow the coals to burn until white ash covers them and the heat is moderate.
  5. Remove the chicken from the marinade, pressing lightly to extract excess marinade, and brush with oil. Place the chicken pieces on a well-oiled grill rack and; grill, covered, with the vents open, turning 3 or 4 times, 45 minutes or until the juices run clear when a piece is pierced near the bone with a knife.
  6. If roasting, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan, brush with oil, and cook, turning once, 25 to 30 minutes until the juices run clear when a piece is pierced near the bone with a knife.
  7. Serve with sprigs of cilantro and slices of cucumber, red onion, tomato, and lemon.

Yield: 4 servings