Tandoori Chicken

March 14, 2024

Tandoori chicken, as its name suggests, finds its origins in the traditional bell-shaped tandoor clay oven, a staple in North Indian culture often utilized for baking naan, the beloved Indian flatbread.

Prepared with skinless chicken quarters, this dish undergoes a delightful transformation through marination in a blend of yogurt, lemon juice, and spices.

The iconic red hue of tandoori chicken is typically achieved through the inclusion of fiery or red colored chili or the use of red food dye. However, in my pursuit of natural ingredients, I do not use food dyes. Instead I use Everest Kashmiri Red Chili powder to impart natural color to the dish.

Here’s the best part: You don’t need a specialized tandoor oven to indulge in the pleasures of tandoori chicken! Thankfully, alternatives abound, whether it’s grilling over charcoal for that authentic smoky flavor or utilizing a conventional oven equipped with a broiler.


  • 4 chicken leg quarters (or any chicken parts you prefer)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon Everest Kashmiri Red Chili Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Everest Tandoori masala spice mix
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • Cooking oil or ghee (clarified butter), for brushing
Tandoori Chicken
Tandoori Chicken

Recipe Instructions

  • Start by making deep cuts into the chicken pieces with a knife. This helps the marinade penetrate deeper, infusing the chicken with flavor.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, tandoori masala spice mix, Everest Kashmiri Red Chili Powder paprika, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, and salt. Mix well to form a smooth marinade.
  • Add the chicken pieces to the marinade, making sure they are well coated. Cover the bowl and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Place the marinated chicken pieces on a wire rack set over a baking tray lined with aluminum foil. This allows the excess marinade to drip off while cooking, resulting in crispy skin.
  • Brush the chicken pieces with a little cooking oil or ghee to help them brown evenly.
  • Bake the chicken in the preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until cooked through and charred in spots. You can also finish them off under the broiler for a few minutes to get a lovely char.
  • Once done, remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.
Tandoori Chicken
Tandoori Chicken

Tips and Tricks

  • If you don’t have tandoori masala spice mix, you can make your own by combining equal parts of ground coriander, cumin, paprika, and garam masala.
  • For extra tenderness, you can add a tablespoon of vegetable oil or melted butter to the marinade.
  • If you’re grilling instead of baking, make sure to preheat your grill and oil the grates to prevent the chicken from sticking.
  • Serve your tandoori chicken with naan bread, rice, and a side of mint chutney for a complete meal.
  • For an extra punch of flavor, consider adding a teaspoon of kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) to the marinade.
  • If you prefer a spicier kick, you can adjust the amount of paprika or add some cayenne pepper to the marinade.
  • For a restaurant-style smoky flavor, you can try adding a small piece of charcoal to the baking tray with the chicken. Heat the charcoal until it’s red hot, then place it in a small bowl in the corner of the baking tray. Drizzle a little oil over the charcoal and quickly cover the tray with aluminum foil. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes to infuse the chicken with smokiness.
Tandoori Chicken
Tandoori Chicken


Q: Can I use boneless chicken for this recipe?

A: Absolutely! Boneless chicken thighs or breasts work just as well. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly, as they may cook faster than bone-in pieces.

Q: Can I make this recipe without a tandoor oven?

A: Yes, you can! While a traditional clay tandoor oven imparts a unique smoky flavor, your home oven or grill will still yield delicious results.

Q: Can I use Greek yogurt instead of plain yogurt?

A: Yes, Greek yogurt can be used as a substitute for plain yogurt. However, you may need to thin it out with a little water or milk to achieve the desired consistency for the marinade.

Q: How do I know when the chicken is cooked through?

A: The best way to ensure that the chicken is cooked properly is to use a meat thermometer. Insert it into the thickest part of the chicken, and it should register at least 165°F (75°C). Alternatively, you can make a small incision near the bone, and the juices should run clear without any pinkness.

Tandoori Chicken
Tandoori Chicken

So now you’ve mastered the art of making mouthwatering tandoori chicken. With its vibrant colors, bold flavors, and juicy texture, this dish is sure to become a staple in your culinary repertoire. So, gather your loved ones, fire up the oven, and savor the irresistible taste of India right in your own kitchen. Happy cooking!

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