Tandoori Chicken


This might indisputably be the most liked Indian chicken dish ever. And it comes as such a welcome surprise that it doesn’t take much to put it together right at home, that too without a tandoor! Now the version I used to make before was certainly yummy, but not the dry-roasted-reddish-colored-drumsticks that you find at every Indian restaurant. So I kept experimenting and you never got to hear about it. Until I found this. This has to be the best ever tandoori chicken I’ve ever tasted. The first time I had it was at M & P’s home and it was served with their absolutely amazing chicken biryani. Yes – the duo happens to have not just a winning biryani recipe but also this perfect tandoori chicken recipe. Wait, it gets better. P happens to be a great cook who can recite recipes in cookbook-style any time you ask her. M on the other hand, does it typical man-style. If you are wondering what that is, it means no measurements and a lot of guessing about the actual ingredients that go in the recipe! I mean, what would you say if you were to ask me about a certain step in a recipe and got “almost” for an answer!!! Well… to M’s credit, he more than made for his lack of recipe-narration-skills by actually making the dish in my kitchen! I have nothing more to complain about, do I? 🙂


So.. thanks to M, here we are with the perfect tandoori chicken recipe that is sure to impress at any party! There are 2 things about this recipe that I have to mention – M believes in keeping recipes totally frugal.. he has something about a <10 count for ingredients. Which means, it does not get any more simple than this. The second is that the marinade is a dry rub – no yogurt, just spices. Most unusual, but stay with the recipe and you’ll be a happy camper! Oh and on that note, this is great for make-ahead plans, I just marinate the meat and freeze it in zip-lock/freezer bags for later. So if you’re still making plans for a late summer camping / cabin trip, you might want to think about taking this one along!



PS: Now if you are wondering why I have yet to explain myself for the more than month-long hiatus from the blog, it is cause I was hoping you’d notice the new counter-top in the picture first! Well, that’s a glimpse into our happy new home! We’ve finally all moved into our new place and although it’s taken a while settling in, it’s been well worth it. So.. here’s to new beginnings and tons more tried-and-perfected winning recipes to come in the future!!

Tandoori Chicken

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Marination Time (optional): 30 minutes – overnight, or freeze for up-to 2 months & thaw before baking | Baking Time: 45 minutes | Serves: 4


  1. 8 chicken drumsticks (substitute with thigh and leg pieces, do not use white meat)
  2. salt to taste
  3. 1.5 tsp  ginger and garlic paste (use ready-made from Indian grocers or grind together equal portion of fresh ginger and garlic for required quantity)
  4. 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  5. 1 tsp red chili powder, adjust to taste
  6. 1 tsp ground cumin powder
  7. juice of 1/2 lemon
  8. very small pinch of red food color (optional)
  9. oil for basting
  10. sliced red onion rings pickled in salt and white vinegar for garnish




  1. Clean and dry the chicken pieces with a kitchen towel to dry off the excess water.
  2. Make deep gashes, all the way to the bone, in 2 or 3 places of the chicken legs (depending on the size of the piece of meat).
  3. Marinate the chicken pieces by adding to it the salt, ginger garlic paste, and dry spices (all except the lemon and red food color). Rub in the spices well into the gashes and toss well until combined.
  4. Add the lemon juice, food color (if using) and a pinch of salt at the very end and toss together to combine well.
  5. Set aside for 30 minutes at room temperature, or marinate overnight in the fridge and let it come to room temperate before baking.



  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Baking step#1: Dry the chicken: Rub oil on the chicken with a basting brush or using a spray and place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the chicken looks dry on both sides. Note: Increase the temperate of the oven if more heat is required as not all ovens heat equally well. Rub more oil if needed.
  3. Baking step#2: Steam-bake the chicken: Add 1 or 2 cups of water to the roasting pan (lower pan) and lower the temperate to 375 degrees F. Bake for another 20 minutes, flipping sides midway through, or until chicken is fully cooked through.
  4. Let it rest for a few minutes before serving.


5 Responses to “Tandoori Chicken”
  1. Jay says:

    Looks yummy…. Drumsticks are getting marinated in fridge right now…. will let you know in the evening 🙂

  2. shalzzzzz says:

    Exotic! That’s what comes to my mind seeing the pic!! 🙂

  3. Preeti says:

    Standing up & clapping along!!!. Way to go on your post & nice counter top!!

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