This is an easy baked Tandoori Chicken recipe for everyone who happens not to have a tandoor sitting in the middle of your kitchen! Made with accessible ingredients from scratch, chicken is infused with flavour from a yogurt tandoori chicken marinade then baked until golden with little charred bits.
Finger lickin’ good!
Tandoori Chicken recipe
Butter Chicken, Chicken Tikka Masala or Tandoori Chicken?? Any outing to an Indian restaurant causes a crisis of indecision as we battle it out between these 3 wildly popular Indian chicken dishes!
There’s no denying that one of the reasons why we love Tandoori chicken is the signature smokey chargrilled flavour that can only be achieved in a clay tandoor built to withhold fierce charcoal heat.
But don’t worry, you won’t miss the chargrill flavour in this Tandoori Chicken recipe. My trick is to jack up the flavour of the marinade to compensate – we’re talking big, big flavours here!
Tandoori Chicken Marinade
Here’s what you need for the Tandoori Chicken Marinade.
Kashmiri Chilli is what gives Tandoori the signature red colour. Tastes like paprika with a bit of spiciness, you’ll need to hunt down an Indian grocery store for this. But don’t worry, paprika is a near perfect flavour sub! The chicken won’t be quite as red but will still have a red hue. You can easily increase the redness with a drop or two of red food colouring.
How to make it
The making part is very straight forward: mix marinate, add the chicken, then leave to marinate. 12 to 24 hours is best, or 48 hours. If you’re in a rush, then 2 to 3 hours will do the trick if you cut slashes into the chicken.
While this is a baked tandoori chicken recipe, it’s a ripper on the barbie too. And off the charts amazing if cooked over charcoal!
What to serve with Tandoori chicken
Here’s what I serve with Tandoori Chicken:
Saffron Rice– love the colour contrast! Recipe below. Though plain basmati rice will do in a pinch (or other rice of choice).
Minted Yogurt– the freshness of the mint and cool yogurt pairs so well with all things Indian. Recipe below.
Side Salad*– try this Indian Tomato Salad or use the same dressing with slices of cucumber. Otherwise, check out this South Indian-style Cabbage & Carrot Salad with Coconut. A simpler alternative is Everyday Cabbage Salad (it’s in the recipe notes).
Flatbreads – When naan is in hot demand, I reach for my Easy No Yeast Flatbreads. Because it’s not a saucy curry, I like to brush the flatbreads with garlic butter for extra flavour – SO GOOD!
* Fresh side salads are less common in Indian cuisine, vegetables tend to be cooked. So don’t get too caught up about an authentic fresh side salad – go with what you like! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
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Baked Tandoori Chicken
- 1 1/2 cups plain yoghurt (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 chilli powder (Note 2 subs)
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp chilli 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)
- Oil spray
Mint Yoghurt (optional)
- 1 cup plain yoghurt
- 1/2 cup mint leaves, packed
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- Basmati rice OR Saffron rice (see note)
- 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) or plain Basmati Rice.
- Combine ingredients in a food processor and blitz until mint is very finely chopped.
- Preheat BBQ with closed lid to medium, brush grills lightly with oil. Place bone-in skin-on chicken skin side down on grills, cook 5 min until surface is just caramelised - 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.
Originally published September 2015. Completely rewritten April 2019, new photos, new video, tidied up video and most importantly, new Life of Dozer section added!
Life of Dozer
Final photo from Dozer’s birthday cake recipe from Monday – when I was trying to do a “nice” overhead photo of the cake and when he saw I was teetering on a ladder fiddling with my camera, he knew it was an opportune time to lunge in for ANOTHER slice!
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