Tandoori Chicken

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Tandoori Chicken

Our first attempt at Tandoori chicken on the K was a success. We had neighbors come to dinner to partake of this particular adventure.

The recipe we followed was based on Julie Sahni's description in her appearance on FoodTV's Chef du Jour show.  We tripled the recipe outlined below to produce the platter in the photo.


  • 4 pieces bone-in chicken breast-halves and legs in any combination
  • 2 tablespoons light vegetable or olive oil for basting


  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1-inch piece of peeled, fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons. yellow food coloring (optional)
  • Coarse salt to taste

Pull the skin off chicken pieces and trim fat. Prick the flesh and make diagonal slashed, 1-inch apart using a paring knife. Set aside in a bowl. Mix all the ingredients of the marinade in an electric blender or a food processor and process until thoroughly pureed. 

I added the food coloring, about 2 parts yellow to 1 part red, a few drops at a time in the food processor, until I got the color I liked. The color intensified during cooking.

Pour the marinade over chicken, toss and rub, to coat thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

We let the chicken pieces (6 breasts and 12 thighs, all on the bone) marinate in the mixture for about 12 hours. I separated the breasts from the thighs into two zip lock bags for marinating because I wanted an easy way to put the breasts up to cook first (they were much larger than the thigh pieces).

I cranked the K up to about 650 degrees, and decided to put the breasts, bone side down, directly on the grill (as opposed to using a baking dish or drip pan to deflect the heat).  I wanted to cook the breasts for about 12 minutes before putting the smaller thigh pieces on. 

A few minutes after I put the thighs on, I brushed some olive oil onto the top side of the meat. A little while later I chose to turn the meat for a few minutes, to finish the top side. It turns out that the grill marks were very tasty, I don't know if it's traditional.. most I've had was more simply "baked".

The timing of the cooking worked out very well, all the chicken came off the grill at the same time.

(Note that the recipe originally called for cooking the chicken in a conventional oven.  If you try it in your kitchen, preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Place chicken in a single layer over a rack positioned in sheet pan. Bake in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes, basting once with marinade juices and oil, or until cooked. )

We served a side dish Julie Sahni also demonstrated on the same show,... a wonderful potato and onion dish (the recipe is described a few paragraphs down).  We'll make these potatoes again, it was very tasty, and looks to be very versatile. 

We also had stopped by an Indian grocery store and picked up some chutneys and relishes that we served with the meal.

Oh, one last touch... Lauren went to an Indian restaurant and brought home three kinds of flat breads. She arrived home just as the chicken was coming off of the K, and a total of 8 of us sat down to feast.

Often Tandoori chicken served in restaurants is very dry, but this chicken, surprisingly and pleasantly, was very moist and very very flavorful. 

Several people had seconds. There were only 3 breast pieces left over, and one of those and some potatoes were taken home for someone who could not attend. The other two will made a nice lunch the next day.

To finish the meal, Lauren made some incredible chocolate/espresso brownies for dessert (with a recipe we learned in a cooking class) that uses Callebaut chocolate, espresso coffee, and some Kahlua. A neighbor brought a lovely chocolate mousse cake.

Another note:  With all the skin I removed from 2 packages of chicken thighs and 2 packages of chicken breasts, I couldn't see it going to waste. So I made "griebenes"... a Jewish version of rendered crispy chicken skin... perhaps I'll post a recipe for that one day.  My boys were thrilled when they got home, it's quite a treat.

Here's the recipe for the pan roasted potatoes:

(Note: I tripled this recipe too, for the dinner)

Pan Roasted Potatoes and Onions with Cumin

  • 2 tablespoons of light vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
  • 1 pound of small red or white new potatoes, boiled and quartered with skin
  • 1 medium-sized Spanish onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large frying pan until hot and add cumin seeds. When cumin begins to brown, add potatoes and onions. Toss potatoes until coated with spice-infused oil. Reduce heat and pan-roast potatoes, turning occasionally, for 10 minutes or until browned and crisp. Season with salt and pepper and serve.  Yield: 4 servings


Copyright 1999 by Zenreich Systems. All rights reserved.
Revised: December 13, 2017


All text and photographs copyright 1999 - 2017  Zenreich Systems. All rights reserved.