Tandoori chicken at its best! This easy recipe helps you make incredibly tender, juicy, moist and outrageously delicious Tandoori chicken. This mind-blowing way of grilling chicken is immensely popular in the Indian restaurants & is known as Tandoori Murgh. It is eaten with Cilantro Chutney gold mint chutney. Indian food lovers keep going back to the restaurants time and again, not knowing it is the simplest that can be made at home.
In this post I share how to make the best Tandoori chicken in numerous ways – using an oven, on stovetop Griddle, air fryer and on direct fire. If you are new to the dish you may be wondering
What is Tandoori Chicken?
Tandoori chicken is a popular Indian dish where marinated chicken is grilled to perfection in a Tandoor, a cylindrical clay oven. As a first step chicken is marinated overnight with various spices, herbs and yogurt.
This marinade helps to tenderize, spice and flavor up the chicken. It is later grilled in a Tandoor. Traditionally the heat for a tandoor is generated by wood fire or charcoal. As the food cooks in this clay oven, the juices drip on to the hot charcoal and release a smoky flavor.
The resulting char grilled chicken is the best – tender and juicy with bursting flavors.
Sources say Tandoori chicken dates back to the Mughal period. While others say it was invented at Moti Mahal, Peshawar by Kundan Lal Gujral, before the partition of India. However it is beyond the scope of this post so let us enjoy making this amazing dish at home.
Wondering how to make Tandoori chicken without having a tandoh?
Any kind of heat source is good enough to grill/roast the chicken – an oven, stovetop, air fryer or direct fire. We are going to roast the chicken to perfection in one of these ways.
How do we infuse the smoky aroma into the chicken?
It is simpler than you think, you can infuse the smoky flavor either by smoking the grilled chicken with a red hot wood coal or cook it over direct fire for a few minutes towards the end.
How To Make Tandoori Chicken (Stepwise Photos)
1. Greek yogurt also known as hung curd is the key ingredient used in the marinade. It is nothing but curd that has been strained of all the whey/liquid. If you do not have Greek yogurt, please check this link for making hung curd.
2. First transfer yogurt to a large mixing bowl. Add all the spice powders. Garam masala, coriander powder, pepper powder, turmeric, chili powder and salt. Also add in ginger garlic paste and kasuri methi.
3. Add lemon juice. Be careful not to add a lot. Use as required depending on how sour your yogurt is.
4. For oil as well.
5. Mix well and taste the marinade. Add any ingredient needed to suit your taste like salt and chili powder. The marinade has to be thick and not runny otherwise it will stick up to the pan. Chicken will let out lot of moisture and juices while grilling if the marinade is runny.
6. Make sure the chicken has no dripping water. If needed wipe dry with a kitchen tissue. Next make deep gashes to the chicken.
7. Marinate it well so that the masala reaches deep inside. The marinade will tenderize the chicken. So make sure you do it properly.
8. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours to over night. Do not reduce the time as the chicken will not get cooked and turn tender. You can keep this as long as 48 hours in the refrigerator.
Grill Tandoori Chicken
Grilling in Oven – Preheat the oven to the highest for at least 15 to 20 mins. In my oven it is 470 F (240 C). Place a wired rack over a baking tray and then place the prepared chicken over the wired rack. Grill it for 15 mins.
For a spicy version, mix together red chilli powder with oil and baste the chicken on both the sides. You can also baste the left over marinade over the chicken.
Grill the chicken again for another 6 to 10 mins until fully cooked through. Adjust the timing as needed depending on the size of your chicken pieces. The last 5 mins set the oven to broil mode or move the rack to the top most level and grill until charred.
Stovetop method – Grilling in pan
9. Heat a pan. Spread 1 to 2 tbsp oil.
10. When the oil turns hot, place the chicken on the tawa. Regulate the heat to medium.
11. After 3 to 4 minutes flip the pieces. Smear the marinade.
12. Flip them again after 3 to 4 mins.
13. Meanwhile add red chili powder to a small bowl. Mix it with the oil. This is optional. Skip if you don’t want spiced ones.
14. Smear that to the tandoori chicken.
15. Turn them to the other side. Cook on both the sides until soft and cooked. If it looks too dry, smear little soft butter.
Smoke Tandoori Chicken
16. This step is also optional, unless you want to smoke the chicken. Burn the charcoal.
17. When it turns hot, drop it in a cup. Immediately for 1 to 2 tsps ghee.
18. It will begin to smoke immediately.
19. Finally cover it and allow to smoke for 5 to 7 mins.
20. Before smoking the tandoori chicken, do check if it is cooked well. The meat should fall off the bone easily. Serve tandoori chicken with Cilantro Chutney gold mint chutney alongside sliced onions, carrots and lemon wedges.