Appetizers & Sides, Main Course, Poultry & Eggs, Recipes
Comments 9

Tandoori Chicken – without a Tandoor

I don’t make Tandoori Chicken at home. When you can order the same off the restaurant across the road, it somehow seems pointless. Especially because the restaurant boasts of a tandoor (clay oven) and I don’t. And I would be a fraud to make this at home and call it ‘tandoori’ chicken when in fact – there was no tandoor to make it in!
So after struggling with this notion and willfully desisting from even venturing in that direction – the co-resident broke all the rules. He was having a barbeque party and could I please marinate some chicken for it? Sure I said, ‘What marinade do you want?’ Tandoori marinade, he cooed.  *Gasp, splutter, shaking the head in disbelief and denial*. Why don’t you just buy it off *insert name of restaurant here*, I asked. Because for a barbeque party you need to barbeque, not buy stuff and besides it’s not like you will be grilling it, just marinating it, he insisted. Sigh… that logic was sound and I’m a true believer in good logic, but it was just working against me here!
So he went and bought the chicken and the rest of the ingredients and even proceeded to wash and clean the meat. He extracted the lemon juice and set aside all the masalas for the marinade. With no excuses left, I had to succumb. I felt strangely guilty – like I was going against my ‘Do not Do’ list! In the end, I did marinate it and the co-resident turned out a beautiful tandoori chicken sans tandoor. Maybe my guilt will be assuaged if I just call it chicken barbequed in Indian spices. But that sounds long and boring. So we’ll leave it as Tandoori Chicken and I’ll add a disclaimer.


Tandoori Chicken
Prep time: 15 mins
Marinating time: 4 hours or overnight
Cooking time: 20-25 mins
Serves 4
What you need:
6 Chicken pieces (combination of thigh and leg, about 1 Kg)
½ Lemon, juice of
100 ml thick Yoghurt (I use Nestle set curd)
3 Tbsp Double Cream
1 Tbsp Gram Flour
1 Tbsp Garlic paste
1 Tbsp Ginger paste
2 Tbsp Chilli Powder
1 tsp Coriander powder (dhaniya)
½ tsp Cumin Powder (Jeera)
½ tsp Garam Masala
½ tsp Turmeric powder
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil for brushing
3 Tbsp melted Butter
Salt to taste
Orange-red food coloring (optional)
To serve:
1/2 Onion, sliced
1 Lemon
½ cup chopped Corainder leaves


What to do:
Make 2-3 small slits in each chicken piece and place in a large non-metallic bowl. Rub in the lemon juice with some salt, cover and chill in the refrigerator for 20 mins.
In a separate bowl whisk the yoghurt, cream and gram flour to a smooth paste. Add all the remaining ingredients except the butter and oil and mix thoroughly. (You can skip the food coloring if you wish. The chicken will take on a more muted yellow color). Marinate the chicken pieces in this mixture, making sure you rub in the marinade into the slits. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight. Return to room temperature before cooking.
Preheat the grill (or if you are using a coal barbeque – make sure it’s nice and hot). Brush the rack with oil. Using a tong, lift the chicken pieces out of the marinade and put on the hot grill. Cook for four minutes and turn over and cook for another four minutes. (Generally when the chicken lifts off the grill easily you know it’s time to turn it over). Baste the chicken with a bit of the reserved marinade and cook again for 2 minutes on each side.
Now, brush the chicken with the melted butter and cook for 5-6 mins, or until charred in patches. (Trust me, the charred bits are what give the tandoori chicken character). Turn over and repeat for a further 5-6 mins or till the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted into the thickest part of the meat.
Transfer the chicken to a dish and serve with wedges of lemon and the onion-coriander mix. A mint youghurt chutney is the ideal dip. You can even make an awesome tandoori chicken roll J



  1. Thank you for your great idea.First time I cooked a non veg dish and it was superb. Credit goes to your recipe, Thank you. Me and my friends just thought of trying it and we made it. Thanks for making me believe that I can cook..U are doing a great work,keep going.


  2. Wow Sumit.. that's a super nifty idea! Will definitely try next time. 🙂 (Mind spinning with so many more meats that can be smoked now!!)


  3. A quick plugin if I may. If using an OTG, just before grilling, place a red hot piece of coal in a small metal bowl. Place this in the middle of the bowl containing the marinated chicken.Add a drop of desi ghee on the coal. Cover the bowl air tight with aluminium foil so as to contain the smoke from the coal. Let this stand for 5 min. Then proceed with grilling. You should be able to get a nice smoky flavor in the final product 🙂


  4. Shalini.. Double Cream is just really thick cream or malai. The one that amul sells is single cream – more of a pouring consistency. Nilgiris/ milky mist have double cream. If you can't source it, just don't shake the amul cream pack before opening it. That way the thicker part of the cream sticks to one side and you can squeeze that out 🙂
    As for grilling… if you are using a coal grill – you just wait till the coals are glowing red hot before you start cooking the chicken. If you are using your microwave on the Grill mode – first preheat the grill for 10 minutes. Then place the chicken on the upper rack and grill for 10 minutes one side. Flip over and grill for 10 more minutes and finally baste it and grill for 5 mins one side and then repeat and grill for 5 minutes on the other.


  5. Nishaaa… so nice to hear from you. 🙂 And thanks … I didn't know I was an aide to your kitchen adventures! DL soon then? Take care babe… 🙂


  6. i'v secured an LL(learners licence) in the kitchen thanks to your blog…. 😀 and the tandoori chicken looks soooooperb…gonna be my next trial..Love it !!!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s