Tandoori chicken is undoubtedly the most popular chicken recipe from Indian cuisine and it has got its reason for being there! It is absolutely delicious! Period!
Sometimes I don’t understand myself! Really! I don’t understand why I didn’t post the ubiquitous tandoori chicken recipe! I have prepared this so many times that I have actually forgot the count. Now this is so obvious, I mean, who doesn’t like tandoori chicken? Tell me! It is a super favorite of my family and mine too. I can name it as the “king of kebabs” and that is not an exaggeration!
Tandoori is best made with the full chicken leg i.e. the drumsticks with the thigh. This is undoubtedly the tastiest part of chicken and the tandoori marinate penetrates really well. The meat of this portion is juicy and soft which creates a killer thing once the tandoori chicken is grilled.
You also have to ensure that you marinate the chicken in the yogurt+spices for at least 4 hours and you can’t negotiate on that if you want the full flavor of the tandoori. The best would be overnight which I generally do.
Another thing to check on is the heat of the Kashmiri chilli powder which is primarily used for the vibrant red color and not for the spiciness. If the one you are using is not an authentic Kashmiri chilli, then be careful while adding it as it may turn your dish very hot instead of red.
To give your homemade tandoori chicken the chique restaurant-look, you will have to add a bit of red food color and I don’t find any harm in that! We always consume some of the food colors while eating out, don’t we?
This tandoori chicken recipe is fail-proof, I can guarantee you that! I have made this uncountable times and it had never disappointed me. So I can tell you blindly, it will surely impress your friends and family and you will be the star of the show!
Just look at them and tell me honestly – aren’t you already tempted?
Serves: 6 Servings
- Full chicken legs – 6 (1.5 kg)
- Kashmiri red chilli powder – 2 tbsp
- Lemon – 1
- Oil – 2 tbsp
- Ginger paste – 1 tbsp
- Garlic paste – 1 tbsp
- Hung yogurt/Greek yogurt – ½ cup
- Kashmiri red chilli powder – 2 tbsp
- Kasoori methi (Dry fenugreen leaves) – 1 tbsp
- Garam masala – 2 tsp
- Roasted cumin powder – 2 tsp
- Coriander powder – 2 tbsp
- Vegetable oil – 4 tbsp
- Red food color (optional) – 4 to 6 drop but totally depends on the texture and quality of the color you are using
- Salt to taste
- Chat masala – ½ tsp
- Oil or melted butter for basting
- To make hung yogurt, tie the plain yogurt in a muslin cloth and hang it over a bowl or kitchen sink for 2 to 3 hours so that all the water drips out and you are only left with the thick yogurt.
- Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces thoroughly so that no moisture is left. Make multiple incisions on them so that the marinade can go deep inside.
- There are two marinates for this recipe. Prepare the first marinade by mixing together 2 tablespoons of Kashmiri red chilli powder, juice of 1 lemon, ginger-garlic paste and 2 tablepoons of oil.
- Massage this marinate into the chicken pieces making sure to go deep inside the incisions you had made. Set aside for 30 minutes.
- Prepare the second marinate in the meantime with the ingredients listed under Tandoori marinade. In a bowl, combine the hung yogurt, chilli powder, roasted cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala, kasoori methi, oil and salt to taste and whisk thoroughly so that all the spices blend well. Finally add the red food color and give a vigorous mix since it takes time to mix food color thoroughly.
- Take the chicken legs out of the first marinate after 30 minutes. Now rub the second marinade on them again making sure that it goes inside the incisions. Coat all the pieces with a thick layer of marinade. Cover with a cling film and keep inside the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight (8 to 12 hours).
- Preheat the oven to 220 C/425 F. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and place a grill rack on top. Place the marinated chicken on the grill rack.
- Now place this grill rack with the chicken at the top rack of the oven and place the lined baking tray below to catch all the drips. Broil the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes. Then take the grill rack out, turn the chicken over and broil for another 35 to 40 minutes or until the chicken is all cooked through. Keep checking after every 15 minutes since it may take less time if you are using lesser quantity.
- Baste them with oil or melted butter after every 10 minutes. You can’t skip the basting as it would prevent the chicken from turning dry. [You can even grill the chicken on an outdoor grill on high heat for almost same duration. I used broil mode of my traditional oven which is nothing but directing the heat from top as it gives the authentic burnt effect to the chicken while grilling.]
- After about 80 minutes, check if the chicken is done – there should not be any traces of pink and the juices should run clear and a toothpick could be inserted very smoothly without any resistance from meat. If you have a food thermometer, check if the temperature registers at least 165 F when inserted into the thickest part of the leg. If yes, your tandoori chicken is done!
- Let the chicken rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Then sprinkle some chat masala on top and serve with lemon wedges and coriander-mint chutney.