Jan 10, 2011

Tandoori Chicken

First things first. This recipe does NOT taste like tandoori chicken from a clay oven of a dhaba in northern India, but it comes as close as one made in a electric oven can.I firmly believe that some things are best eaten off street vendors and restaurants, but till such time I find a good Indian restaurant in Copenhagen, this will satisfy my craving. Come summer, I plan to try it on a charcoal grill. We ate ours with a simple raita (diced cucumber + yogurt + onion + roasted cumin relish) and store bought naan. I really must remedy my naan situation. Anyone have a recipe to share? I am also looking for another tandoori chicken recipe that comes closer to the real thing.

Also important is the red orange food colour or saffron if you are a sucker for doing things from scratch. If it doesn't look like tandoori, the mind refuses to taste it like tandoori. I used cake colour, which explains the non authentic colour.

* You can a skip the dry ground spices and use any good quality tandoori masala mix from an Indian grocer  instead. The longer it marinates, the better. I let mine marinate for 24 hours.


  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 Tbsp garam masala
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 whole chicken legs (drumsticks and thighs), or its equivalent, skinless, bone-in
  • Red-orange food colour.


  1. Heat the oil in a small pan add all dry ground spices over medium heat, until fragrant (approximately 2-3 minutes). Let cool completely.
  2. Whisk in the cooled spice-oil mixture into the yogurt, then mix in the lemon juice, garlic, salt and ginger.
  3. Cut deep slashes (to the bone) in 3-4 places on the leg/thigh pieces. Coat the chicken in the marinade,  rub in, cover and chill for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight..
  4. Pre heat oven on grill to 180 C. Wipe the grill grates with a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil. Shake excess marinade out of chicken. You want the chicken coated, but not gloopy. Put the chicken pieces in the oven and grill. ( I baked mine for the first 20 mins at 180C and grilled the remaining minutes)
  5. Flip sides so the chicken browns evenly (it is better if the edges char a little bit) Cook for at least 20 minutes or 40 depending on the size of the chicken and the temperature of the grill. The chicken is done when its juices run clear.Serves 4-6.


  1. I tried this, but had no food color and you are right, it doesn't work without the color!
    NKR in Netherlands

  2. It is funny how our tongues react so much to colour! Like I mentioned, it did not taste 'authentic' not when I made it anyway, did it taste good though?

  3. My guests (Indian students hungering for home food) all liked it and wanted to know how I made it (but I didn't tell them that it was supposed to be Tandoori chicken);)
    NKR in Netherlands