tandoori chicken (oven-baked)

Tandoori chicken is a very popular dish among South Asians.  Chicken is marinated in yogurt and spices and baked in tandoor oven.  It’s obvious that none of us have tandoor ovens at home, so we tend to use alternative ways to try getting the same exotic flavors.  I know a lot of people mistakenly bake the chicken on lower temperature, but it just dries up the chicken.  If you want the juices to remain intact then bake the chicken on 500 F for 30 mins.  Don’t worry about burning the chicken, it’s going to turn out utterly moist.

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This dish is one of the easiest things to make especially on busy week nights or gloomy days when you’re too lazy to make anything fancy and time consuming.  The only catch with this is to marinate a day before. Marination doesn’t often get the recognition it deserves, even though it’s a key to flavorful softer meat.  I’m a firm believer in marinating tandoori chicken for 24 hours or at least 8 hours.  The more the merrier.

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Another thing you could do is to make your own fresh tandoori spices beforehand. Combine 1 tbsp coriander powder, 2 tbsp cumin powder, 2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves, 4 tsp paprika, 2 tbsp garam masala, 1/2 tsp turmeric, and 1/2 tsp chili powder.   Whisk it with a spoon and store in airtight container.   If you like you could add red or orange color to it, but that’s your call.  It can’t get easier than this.

Freshness of ingredients make all the difference when it comes to cooking, even though store-bought spices are obviously much more convenient.

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I guess all that is left now is the actual recipe:

You will need: 

  • 6 Chicken Quarters (I got the skin removed)
  • 1 cup thick yogurt
  • 2-3 tbsp of honey
  • 2 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 3 tbsp of homemade tandoori spice or store bought
  • Juice of 1 whole lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I think I added little more than 1/2 tsp of black pepper, but if you like it spicy add more)
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted

Clean the chicken,  pat dry, and make a few horizontal slits on the chicken to allow spices to penetrate the meat during marination.

In a small bowl add melted butter, yogurt, honey, ginger garlic paste, tandoori spice, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Mix it well. Make sure to taste the mixture before adding it to the chicken, just in case if it needs more salt or pepper.  If you are using store bought tandoori spice, then go easy on salt.

Now add the yogurt mix to chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Take out chicken from the fridge an hour before baking   Preheat the oven to 500 F and line the baking tray with foil.

Bake the chicken in the preheated oven for 30 mins. Meanwhile melt 2-3 tbsp butter in microwave. Take out the chicken and brush all the quarters with melted butter. Turn on the boiler and place the tray back in the oven until the top is slightly charred.  Keep a close eye on it so that they don’t burn.

Garnish with cilantro, onions, and more lemon juice.   Serve with rice and salad or naan.

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