Tandoori Chicken is one of the most famous, and probably most commonly eaten dishes at any Indian restaurant. It is an Indian version of a seasoned bbq chicken, but it is cooked in a clay oven, also called a “Tandoor.” These tandoor ovens are what gives Tandoori Chicken its extremely delicious smoky flavor and intensity.
Unfortunately, most of us don’t have a clay oven in our kitchens, so the next best thing is to use our ovens, or in my case, use your stovetop, to get that same (and possibly even more delicious flavor) taste in your chicken.
I marinate my chicken in a yogurt, onion, and tomato based mixture with over 10 different ground spices and seasonings. Once my chicken is marinated, I cook it in a mixture of sauteed veggies and more seasonings on very high heat to give the chicken a slight char on the edges and sides. The result is the most juicy and flavorful Tandoor chicken with just enough of char to remind you of that smokey flavor, so common from a Tandoor clay oven.
This recipe will be a big hit in your kitchen once you try it! The longer you marinate the chicken, the more intense your flavors will become, resulting in an amazing dish! This is a great recipe that allows you to make the marinated meat ahead of time and refrigerate till you are ready to use!
But, if you love Tandoor chicken the way most people do, you won’t be able to wait to make this recipe and devour it! Haha!
TANDOORI CHICKEN (Stovetop Version)
Servings: 8-10 pieces
- 2.5 to 3lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (8-10 pieces with excess fat trimmed)
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1 small onion cut into small chunks
- 1/2 tsp. Red food color (add 1/8 tsp. more for darker red color, if desired)
- 4 Tbsp. tomato paste
- Tandoori Spice Mix: (Grind again into a fine powder)
- 2 tsp. ground coriander
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. turmeric powder
- 2 tsp. garam masala powder
- 2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp. salt (add more to taste)
- 2 tsp. cinnamon powder
- 2 tsp. cardamom powder
- 2 tsp. ginger powder
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. ground black peppercorn
- 1 tsp. ground clove
- 1.5 tsp. Kashmiri red chili powder or cayenne (add more to taste)
- 1.5 tsp. paprika
- For Cooking:
- 1 medium onion cut into thin slices
- 1 red bell pepper (seeds removed and cut into thin slices)
- 1/4 cup of oil
- 2 Tbsp. whole cumin seed
- 2 Tbsp. ginger-garlic paste
- 2-3 Tbsp. dried Kasuri fenugreek
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 2-3 Tbsp of achar powder (Indian pickling spices)
- lemon wedges (for garnish)
Note: You can substitute chicken with shrimp, fish, paneer cubes, haloumi, or firm tofu.
- Make the Tandoori Marinade by taking all ground spices and grinding again in a spice mixer or coffee mixer till it is a fine powdery consistency.
- In an airtight, storage container, add yogurt, tomato paste, red food color, onion chunks and finely ground spice mix all together till fully blended.
- On a separate plate, take each piece of chicken and stab several times on both sides with fork or tip of knife. Add in chicken pieces and mix everything together well (by hands, if possible) and place in covered container & refrigerate 4-6hrs minimum. (If possible, marinate 12-24hrs.)
- When ready to cook, heat oil on high in wide shallow pan.
- When oil is hot, add onions, bell pepper, ginger-garlic paste, cumin, fenugreek.
- Mix & Cook for 5-7mins till veggies begin to char slightly and soften.
- Add in chicken pieces by laying flat on top of sautéed veggies and allow to cook for about 10-15 mins on each side to obtain a slight char on each piece. (Toss around with spoon a bit to help avoid the veggies from burning).
- Once cooked, place Tandoori chicken on desired serving dish and garnish with lemon wedges, cilantro and achar spice on top.
- Serve hot.
NOTE: If making this recipe in oven, line a large baking sheet with foil. In a mixing bowl, mix the oil, onions, bell peppers, fenugreek, cumin, and ginger-garlic paste and then place at bottom of the baking tray. Put each piece of marinated chicken on top of the veggie mixture and then place in oven on lowest rack on BROIL for 20-25 minutes, making sure to rotate chicken and toss veggies a few times during cooking to avoid burning.
Now don’t let all the ingredients or steps to cook this dish intimidate you. Alot of the spices are probably in your pantry, or local grocery store. And if you don’t know what some of the spices look like, check out my spice page to see what you will need before you buy it. https://spiceculturecooking.com/indian-spices/
The most important part of this dish is making the marinade and giving the meat time to marinate in the seasonings. Then, it’s smooth sailing and a very easy cook in your kitchen!
That’s it! Let me know if you try this recipe. Tag me with your Tandoori pics on IG @cmspiceculture and comment below with your thoughts!