Classic Tandoori Chicken

Hi friends, this time I thought of trying something different, easy yet tasty.  Why not a recipe that is very Indian which almost every non-vegetarian craves for.  TANDOORI CHICKEN it is!!!

Before straight-away going for the recipe, I would like to share my bit of story about how I ended up making this classic tandoori chicken at home, that too with minimum effort.

Often while relishing a mouth watering Tandoori chicken at a restaurant I used to wonder how much effort one must put into for such a heavenly outcome.  But believe me, after I started making it myself at home I realised it is one of the easiest starters you can prepare, even for a house party in just a day’s notice.  But of course, I would not have ventured into discovering this secret without that big push from my foremost food critic: my husband.  Being a die-hard Tandoori lover he inspired me to prepare this Classic Tandoori Chicken at home (obviously out of his own interest).

Marination is the basic secret of a good Tandoori chicken.  In this recipe, chicken is marinated for hours with curd and selected spices and thereafter roasted in a Tandoor: a cylindrical clay oven.  The chicken gets slowly roasted in the flames of coal or wood. The smoky flavour of charcoal or wood gets infused in the chicken and that amalgamation of spices with the smoky flavour is purely magical.

Now the question arises, how to prepare this dish at home without a Tandoor.  I have personally tried every way, from grilling in oven to setting up a barbeque. Believe me, all the ways work and the results were excellent. I have discussed grilling in oven and barbeque on charcoal in this blog.  Grilling in oven does not give that infused smoky aroma of wood charcoal.  However, you can partially improvise it using charcoal and ghee. The barbeque on the other hand automatically renders that smoky aroma.

Preparation time: 15 to 20 minutes

Marination time: 4 hours to overnight

Cooking time: 45 to 90 minutes


  • One full chicken cut into four parts: two legs and two breasts
  • 1 cup Curd (thick)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Garlic paste
  • 1 tsp Ginger paste
  • 1 tsp Red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri powder
  • 2 tsp Lemon juice
  • 1tsp Mustard oil or vegetable oil
  • ¼ tsp Saffron for colour (optional)
  • 1 to 2 tsp Garam Masala

Please follow the instruction given below to prepare a Special Garam Masala at home for an exquisite aroma and flavour.  Otherwise, you can use any ready-made Garam Masala available in the market for a quick solution.

Special Garam Masala

Whole Spices

  • 1 tsp Green cardamom
  • 2 to 3 pieces Black cardamom
  • 1 medium Cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp Cloves
  • 1 tsp Peppercorns
  • 1 piece Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Mace
  • 1/2 tsp Shah jeera

Dry roast the above whole spices in low flame in a pan and set them aside to cool. After few minutes grind to powder and pour the mixture in an airtight container. You can use this aromatic garam masala for other preparations also.


  1. Take a big bowl and pour the curd. Add ginger-garlic paste, lemon juice, salt and all the spices. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Place the chicken over the mixture and then cover each of the chicken pieces with the marination thoroughly.
  3. Cover the bowl and place it in refrigerator for minimum 4 hours to overnight.
  4. Take out the marinated chicken at least half an hour before putting it inside the oven or grill pan or barbeque.

grilling in oven:

  1. Preheat the oven for 10 minutes at 250o C. Brush the wire rack with oil and then put the marinated chicken over the wire rack and place it inside the oven. Turn down the heat to 200o C for slow cooking.
  2. Every 15 to 20 minutes turn the chicken pieces, brush the chicken with oil and then turn them again. This will prevent the chicken from sticking to the wire of the oven rack. Then brush the top side with additional marination left. Repeat this process several times for a flavourful tandoori chicken.
  3. After the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the outside colour starts changing, either  increase the temperature of the oven to 250o C and let both the sides grill for another 15 minutes or let it grill in the same temperature a bit longer (in case you have time in hand). This step will help to get that blackish Tandoori crust outside. You can brush the tandoori chicken with butter and serve hot or else you can proceed towards the next step.
  4. If you wish to get that smoky aroma infused then place the Tandoori Chicken in a big bowl. Ignite a small charcoal and place it inside the bowl over a small piece of foil and pour little Ghee on the top of the burning charcoal and immediately put a lid to cover the bowl.  Wait for 5 minutes to get the smoky aroma of the charcoal infused inside the chicken.


Once the wood charcoal is ignited place the wire rack nicely coated with oil over the fire.  Place the chicken pieces on the rack and follow the same procedure as mentioned in step 2 under ‘Grilling in oven’.  Once the Tandoori Chicken is ready brush butter over it before serving.

Luscious, juicy and spicy Classic Tandoori Chicken is ready. It is served best with green chutney and onion salad simply dressed with lemon and salt.


In case you do not have an oven or a barbeque, then simply use a grill pan or frying pan. Heat the pan, brush it with oil and place the marinated chicken on it. Cover and let it cook slowly. Follow the same procedure as mentioned in step 2 under ‘Grilling in oven’.  Once the chicken is cooked and it attains the Tandoori crust outside, brush it with butter and serve hot or else follow the procedure in step 4 under ‘Grilling in oven’ for infusing that smoky aroma in the chicken.

Throw a weekend party at your place and surprise your friends with this delicious appetizer.  While preparing the chicken in oven or on charcoal it just needs to be looked after every 15 minutes. In the meantime chat with your friends or family over a drink.  Trust me, it would be a great fun. Enjoy and please share your party experiences with me. Cheers!!!

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