If you like Indian food and like chicken then I can bet that you would have definitely tasted Tandoori Chicken:) If not, then you need to immediately rectify that! Tandoori Chicken probably helped popularize Indian cuisine in the rest of the world. And Chicken tikka masala where this tandoor baked chicken is dunked in a delicious creamy tomato gravy is every ‘curry’ and ‘chicken lovers’ dream curry.
I have made Tandoori style chicken numerous times over the years although I had never posted a recipe until now. I did post a Nepalese version of Tandoori Chicken sometime back which has tomato in the marinade. Usually I would just make Tandoori chicken by making a marinade in yoghurt with ginger, garlic, some coriander, cumin, cayenne and garam masala. I believe cumin and the ginger-garlic paste is what gives a Tandoori chicken its unique flavor. The chicken is nice and slightly crispy on the outside while really really moist and succulent on the inside. And it is just oozing with flavor!
Of late since I avoid dairy on my Paleo diet, I have been omitting yoghurt. And I have been using lemon juice instead to impart acidity to tenderize the meat. That works pretty great too. So last week as I was making a new batch, I remembered to take the pics and note down ingredients so I could post this recipe! The longer you marinate the chicken, the tastier your tandoori chicken will be! Also, tandoori chicken has a special flavor because it is baked in a tandoor (clay oven). So in my version, I tried to get a smokey flavor by broiling the chicken for a couple mins in the end.
The tandoori chicken tastes great with some plain white rice and dal (lentil curry). That’s how my family enjoys them. I either eat them with a salad on the side or make Chicken tacos using my homemade cassava tortillas. So so yum! I have stated AIP version within the recipe.
- 1½ lb chicken thigh pieces
- 8 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 inch by 1 inch long piece of fresh ginger, peeled
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder (OMIT for AIP)
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder (OMIT for AIP)
- 2 tsp cumin powder (OMIT for AIP)
- 2 tsp garam masala (use AIP garam masala - see below)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Extra Olive Oil for brushing on top
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground mace
- ½ tsp ground clove
- Clean the chicken pieces and cut into large pieces. Dab the chicken pieces using paper towels to remove moisture. Make light gashes on the chicken pieces so that the marinade can seep in.
- Blend all marinade ingredients in a small food processor jar to form a thick paste and add to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the chicken pieces to the marinade and using your hands coat each piece generously with the marinade. Let the chicken pieces sit in marinade for at least 1 hour. Or up to 8-10 hours. (Transfer chicken to fridge if marinating for more than 1 hour)
- When ready to bake the chicken, pre heat oven to 450 deg F (220 deg C).
- Line a baking tray with Al foil and brush with oil. Lay the chicken pieces on the baking sheet. Bake at 450 F for 25 mins.
- Take out tray and brush with oil and flip the chicken pieces and bake for another 15-20 mins until both sides are well cooked.
- Remove tray from oven and turn oven to broil setting. Now place tray on top rack for 2-3 mins until there are slightly blackened smoked spots on each of the chicken pieces.
- Take tray out of the oven and cover the tray with Al foil until serving.
- Serve tandoori chicken with lemon wedges and sliced red onions!
You could also grill this chicken on an outdoor grill. If you add charcoal that would give them a really good flavor!