Tandoori chicken is a staple in many South Asian homes, especially during barbecue season. The marinade is spicy, smoky and lemony and most commonly made for chicken, but can also be used on fish, shrimp, or tofu for a vegan option. The recipe was created by a Punjabi gentleman for the famous Moti Mahal restaurant that was located in pre-partition India – current day Peshawar, Pakistan. The word tandoori comes from the word tandoor – which is a specific clay oven used in traditional Indian cooking that adds a wonderful earthy smokiness to meats and breads like tandoori naan. Most families do not own a tandoor, so grilling on a barbecue or in the oven works perfectly fine.
Here, I’ve taken all the flavours of tandoori chicken and created a delicious oven-to-table meal that your whole family can enjoy on any busy weeknight, or even for a cozy Sunday dinner. Simply marinate the chicken the day before, then pop it in the oven and you’ll be ready to eat a traditional Indian classic in less than an hour!
Note: the Kashmiri chili has a medium to low spice level, and lends the beautiful bright red colour this dish is known for. If Kashmiri chili is not available, substitute for a quarter the amount of cayenne (or to taste), and a bit of red food colouring.
Related: Spicy, Crispy Onion Pakora
Potatoes and onions
To garnish and serve
This recipe requires 8 hours marinating time.
For the first marinade: Place the butterflied chicken in a large bowl or baking tray and sprinkle salt, lemon juice, Kashmiri chili powder, garlic, and ginger over the butterflied chicken. Rub well to coat the entire chicken, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 20-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the second marinade: In a medium sized bowl, add the yogurt, garam masala, cayenne, cumin, coriander, Kashmiri chili powder, dried fenugreek, citric acid, neutral and mustard oils, black salt, salt, black pepper and lemon juice. Mix to combine and set aside.
Place the chicken in a 9×13-inch baking dish. Reserve ½ cup of marinade, then pour the marinade over the chicken and massage to coat the top and bottom evenly. Gently lift the chicken skin, and massage the prepared masala underneath. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours, or overnight.
Toss potatoes and onions with reserved ½ cup of marinade. Cover and refrigerate as long as the chicken is marinating.
Once chicken has marinated, remove from the refrigerator and preheat oven to 350°F. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
Remove the baking dish from the oven, discard the foil, add in the marinated potatoes and onions. Place the chicken back into the oven, uncovered, and bake for another 25-35 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160°F and the potatoes have softened.
Set the oven to broil for about 3 minutes, or until the top of the chicken has slightly browned.
Remove the baking dish from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes.
While the chicken rests, make the spicy onions. Place onions into a small bowl, add lemon juice and white vinegar. Rub with your fingers to soften the onions. Add cayenne, plus salt to taste. Set aside.
Once chicken has rested, sprinkle with chaat masala and cilantro to garnish before carving. Enjoy with garlic naan, basmati rice, cool raita and spicy onions.