Tandoori chicken, an iconic Indian recipe, is traditionally prepared by roasting or grilling the marinated chicken in a clay oven or tandoor. If you do not have a tandoor, the same results can be achieved by grilling or oven roasting at a high heat.
The key to smoky, moist tandoori chicken is the marinade. The marinade consists of thick Greek yogurt spiced with coriander, cumin, garlic, ginger, smoked paprika, and lemon. Turmeric and garam masala are also important to achieve the complex layers of flavors in tandoori chicken.
The longer you marinate the chicken, the better the flavor will be. Marinate the chicken for at least 8 hours. By cutting slits in the chicken, this also allows the marinade to penetrate the chicken and maximizes the exotic and pungent spices.
If you have had tandoori chicken in a restaurant, it is sometimes bright red. This is because red food coloring is added to the marinade. I do not encourage you to do this.
Usually, tandoori chicken calls for the skin to be removed, but you can opt to leave it on if you want crispy chicken skin. Decide what you prefer, but be aware that skin-on chicken may be more prone to flare-ups when grilling. You’ll have to watch the chicken more closely while it’s on the grill and flip the pieces more often to avoid hot spots. These are all reasonable trade-offs for some extra flavor!
Once the chicken is removed from the grill, place the pieces on a platter. Garnish with thinly sliced raw red onions and cucumbers. You can also serve a rice dish on the side to compliment the grilled chicken. Try my mejadra rice with lentils and caramelized onions which would pair well with the spicy aromatic tandoori chicken. You could also try a traditional Indian rice rich as jeera which is simple yet fragrant.
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