Tandoori Chicken (Tandoori Murghi) Recipe

Tandoori chicken
Rob MacDougall/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images
  • 9 hrs 30 mins
  • Prep: 8 hrs 45 mins,
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings Tandoori Chicken
Ratings (23)

This classic recipe for tandoori chicken, known as tandoori murghi in India, is marinated in yogurt, lemon juice, and plenty of spices, then grilled or broiled. Plan ahead. This recipe needs to marinate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Authentic tandoori chicken is marinated in a tandoori masala or spice mixture. There are many ways to make this seasoning and mine is below.

Traditionally, in India, this dish would be cooked in a tandoor, a type of clay oven that puts out intense heat. The tandoor is used to make foods, whether it's chicken, beef or another dish like bread known as naan, but I have given instructions to make this dish on a grill or in a conventional oven at home.

What You'll Need

  • Chicken:
  • 1 (3-pound) chicken, cut into serving pieces, skinned and trimmed of all visible fat
  • Marinade:
  • 1/2 cup  plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or malt vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and grated or crushed ginger root
  • Tandoori Masala Mix:
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • For Cooking:
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing
  • For Garnish:
  • Fresh cilantro sprigs
  • Slices of cucumber, red (Spanish) onion, tomato, and lemon

How to Make It

  1. Prick the flesh of the chicken all over with a fork. Then, using a sharp knife, cut slashes in the flesh to allow the marinade to penetrate. Place the chicken in a nonreactive large, shallow dish.
  2. In a nonreactive bowl, combine the yogurt, lemon juice or malt vinegar, garlic, ginger. In a separate small bowl, whisk together cumin, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, ground cardamom, ground cloves, black pepper and salt. Stir this spice mixture into the yogurt-lemon juice mixture until well combined.
  1. Pour the marinade-spice mixture over the chicken and rub it into the flesh, turning the chicken several times. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. (Do not marinate for longer than 2 days.) Remove the chicken from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking.
  2. The chicken may be grilled or roasted. If using a charcoal grill, prepare a fire for direct-heat cooking. Position the grill rack 5 inches from the fire. Allow the coals to burn until white ash covers them and the heat is moderate.
  3. Remove the chicken from the marinade, pressing lightly to extract excess marinade, and brush with oil. Place the chicken pieces on a well-oiled grill rack and grill, covered, with the vents open, turning 3 or 4 times, 45 minutes or until the juices run clear when a piece is pierced near the bone with a knife.
  4. If roasting, heat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan, brush with oil, and cook, turning once, 25 to 30 minutes until the juices run clear when a piece is pierced near the bone with a knife.
  5. Serve with sprigs of cilantro and slices of cucumber, red onion, tomato, and lemon.

Per serving (without cucumber, red onion, tomato or lemon, for garnish): 303 calories, 33% calories from fat, 45 grams protein, 3 grams carbohydrates, .54 gram total fiber, 11 grams total fat, 124 milligrams cholesterol, 707 milligrams sodium.

Source: "Savoring India: Recipes and Reflections on Indian Cooking" by Julie Sahni (Williams-Sonoma/Oxmoor House, 2002). Reprinted with permission.