Authentic tandoori chicken
Tandoori chicken is my favorite Indian food. Tandoori Chicken is named after the cylindrical clay oven in which the dish is traditionally prepared, called a tandoor, which commonly gets up to almost 500-degree F in temperature. Western chefs have had to modify the cooking method, either grilling or roasting the chicken. This recipe roasts the chicken in the oven and achieves fabulous results.
The secret to making juicy, tender and bursting Tandoori chicken are Greek yogurt and Garam Masala. The yogurt makes the chicken tender and moist while the Garam Masala gives the iconic aroma and flavors. Bake the marinated chicken in the oven at high heat (400 degrees F). The heat will seal in juice inside the chicken.
The long list of spices garlic, onion, ginger, paprika, turmeric, garam masala, cayenne pepper and juiced lemon in our tandoori chicken marinade, don’t feel intimidated! They are simply spices, no more difficult to utilize than any other common spice on your spice rack. The more Indian food you cook, the more familiar these will become to you.
The original Tandoori Chicken is usually quite spicy. Kashmiri chile powder is used to give it heat as well as give it it’s reddish hue. In my version, I used food coloring to create color, although paprika and turmeric create nice coloring as well.
- 2 pounds chicken legs no skin (8 legs)
- 2 cups greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon yellow food coloring
- 1 teaspoon red food coloring
- 1 lemon juiced
Clean the chicken
Add the rest of the ingredients to the chicken and mix well (I use a zipper bag and just sort of squish it all around).
Let marinade in the refrigerator for at LEAST 8 hours, preferably 24 hours.
Remove the majority of the marinade before cooking the chicken.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and cook on a sheet pan for 25-30 minutes.
- If you don’t have an oven, preheat grill to get a surface temp of about 450. For a charcoal grill, ignite a chimney starter full of lump charcoal and burn until the edges of the coals look ashy, about 15 minutes. Clean and oil. Let rest at room temperature until grill is ready.
- Place chicken legs on the grill. Arrange the chicken pieces skin side up over the cooler part of the grill. You will want the meaty end towards your heat source to cook them through. Close the lid and smoke the chicken for 45 minutes. Turn the chicken every 10 -15 mins
- Move the chicken to the hot side of the grill, and grill, uncovered, turning and moving the chicken regularly to manage flare-ups, until lightly charred on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes.