Tandoori Chicken

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Tandoori Chicken | Delish D'LitesI was first introduced to Indian food in college, thanks for my roommate Shreyasi, and it was love at first bite! The flavors are completely new, but also familiar.  Once I started learning about common spices used in Indian cooking, like coriander, fennel, cloves, cinnamon, cumin and more, I’ve realized I have encountered all of these flavors, in many different cuisines.  So for me, this cuisine was easy to love, because it’s just a matter of combining these familiar spices in different ways to create new dishes.  Indian food is definitely all the about the complex blend of spices to create harmony on a plate, and one great dish to introduce yourself to Indian flavors is tandoori chicken!

Tandoori Chicken | Delish D'Lites

 Tandoori chicken is my go-to dish in any Indian restaurant, but luckily, it’s easy to recreate at home without the use of a tandoor oven, as long as you have access to the spices.  If you don’t have a local Indian or Asian market, you can always order the spices online, or go with a prepared tandoori spice blend.  But I highly recommend you make the extra effort to find the whole spices, they add a punch of flavor that packaged ground spices just can’t measure up to.  Don’t be scared by the long list of ingredients, most of them are things you probably have in your spice cabinet already!

Note: This recipe was adapted from Aarti Sequeira

ingredients5 whole cloves
2 green cardamom pods, husks discarded, seeds retained
1 black cardamom pods, husk discarded, seeds retained
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice or malt vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 -inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 6 thighs)

directionsIn a small frying pan, add the cloves, green cardamom, black cardamom, coriander, and fennel seeds.  Heat the spices on medium heat for about 3-4 minutes, until fragrant.  Once you can smell them, they’re done.  Pour the toasted spices into a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, and grind them until they’re a fine powder.  Side note, if you don’t have a spice grinder, I highly suggest getting one, it’s life changing! (I bought a cheap little coffee grinder, just for this purpose).

In large bowl, whisk together the spice mixture you just made with the yogurt, oil, lemon juice, salt, both paprikas, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic and ginger until well combined. Taste this delish mixture (it’s the bomb!) and adjust with more salt if it needs it.

Tandoori Chicken | Delish D'Lites

Prick the chicken thighs with a fork, this will help the marinade seep into the chicken.  Then toss the chicken into the marinade, stir to cover completely, and refrigerate for as little as 1 hour or as long as overnight.

Tandoori Chicken | Delish D'Lites

When you’re ready to cook, you can either grill or broil* these.  I like using the grill, there’s just something about cooking over an open fire that makes food taste better.  So, heat your grill to the highest setting, and set your chicken on the grates.  The yogurt marinade will act as a barrier, that will keep the chicken from drying out while it cooks.

*To Broil: If you’re doing this under the broiler, line a baking sheet with foil, and turn your broiler on to about 425 degrees. Place each chicken thigh on the baking sheet, making sure each one is coated with the marinade. Cook the chicken thighs under the broiler until it starts to blacken, about 5 minutes. Then turn the oven to 350, and cook until a meat thermometer inserted in the meatiest part of the thigh registers 160 degrees F, another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Tandoori Chicken | Delish D'Lites

Cook each side on the grill for 7-8 minutes, making sure to allow the chicken to get blackened in areas.  This is essential to the tandoori chicken flavor.   When a meat thermometer inserted in the meatiest part of the thigh registers 160 degrees F, the chicken is done.

Tandoori Chicken | Delish D'Lites

Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Tandoori Chicken | Delish D'Lites

I like serving this delish Tandoori chicken with a big salad, and some warm naan bread (you can find it in most supermarkets).  Happy eating!

Tandoori Chicken | Delish D'Lites

Tandoori Chicken

Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 323 kcal

Ingredients

  • 5 whole cloves
  • 2 green cardamom husks discarded, seeds retained
  • 1 black cardamom husk discarded, seeds retained
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice or malt vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 - inch piece of ginger peeled and minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 6 thighs)

Instructions

  1. For the marinade: In a small frying pan, add the cloves, green cardamom, black cardamom, coriander, and fennel seeds. Heat the spices on medium heat for about 3-4 minutes, until fragrant. Once you can smell them, they're done. Pour the toasted spices into a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, and grind them until they're a fine powder.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together the spice mixture you just made with the yogurt, oil, lemon juice, salt, both paprikas, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic and ginger until well combined. Taste the marinade and adjust with more salt if it needs it.
  3. Prick the chicken thighs with a fork, then toss the chicken into the marinade, stir to cover completely, and refrigerate for as little as 1 hour or as long as overnight.
  4. To Grill: Heat your grill to the highest setting, and set your chicken on the grates. Cook each side on the grill for 7-8 minutes, making sure to allow the chicken to get blackened in areas. When a meat thermometer inserted in the meatiest part of the thigh registers 160 degrees F, the chicken is done.
  5. To Broil: Line a baking sheet with foil, and turn your broiler on to about 425 degrees. Place each chicken thigh on the baking sheet, making sure each one is coated with the marinade. Cook the chicken thighs under the broiler until it starts to blacken, about 5 minutes. Then turn the oven to 350, and cook until a meat thermometer inserted in the meatiest part of the thigh registers 160 degrees F, another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  6. Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before serving
Nutrition Facts
Tandoori Chicken
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 323
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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I’m Jannese, Founder of Delish D’lites

I’m a Puerto Rican girl living in paradise (Florida), and the creative mind behind Delish D’Lites. I love sharing my family recipes and travel inspired cuisine! My favorite things include collecting passport stamps, twerking to Latin music, and kissing puppies. Follow along on social.