Authentic tandoori chicken (restaurant style)

The authentic tandoori chicken is not only popular in India, but almost everywhere in UK, USA and other countries. Tandoori chicken is so delicious and even mouth-watering when we see the marinated chicken displayed in the restaurants. In Bangalore and Delhi I have seen them hanging in tandoor skewers - red in colour and displayed in an enclosed glass area, which is kept outside to attract the customers. The authentic tandoori chicken has to be marinated with spices, yoghurt, and lime juice for 8 hrs to overnight. To cook tandoori chicken, you need a traditional tandoor, which can be found in almost all Indian restaurants. But we can achieve the restaurant style tandoori chicken at home by preparing it as per my instructions in this recipe.

To prepare the most appetizing tandoori chicken, I have used homemade tandoori masala - a special spice blend, which is roasted and ground. In addition to it, I have used yoghurt, lime juice, Kashmiri chillies and kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) for the marinade. Marination plays a vital role in enhancing the flavours of tandoori chicken. I have marinated 2 overnights to give the best, succulent and juicy tandoori chicken. You can ask the butcher to cut the chicken for preparing tandoori chicken to save time. Doing it yourself is also not that hard. Normally we will not have a tandoor at home, but we can get that restaurant style red and charred colour on chicken by just cooking in the oven as per my instructions. Wrapping the chicken in aluminium foil when cooking with butter will help keep the chicken moist and juicy.

Tandoori chicken can be served as a starter with salad and mint sauce or mint chutney. Apart from starter, Tandoori chicken pieces can be used to prepare tandoori chicken biryani and the most famous is butter chicken (murg makhani) and if using boneless pieces can be used as a fillet for burger or as a wrap with salad. In UK, tandoori chicken pieces are used almost everywhere like in samosas, salad, wrap, barbeque, curries, sandwiches and many more.

Preparation time: 40 mins (excluding marinating time)

Cooking time: 45 mins

Cuisine: North Indian

Serves: 3

Spiciness: Medium and tangy

Ingredients

  • Whole chicken - 800 gms
  • First marinade

  • Ginger and garlic paste – 2 tsp
  • Kashmiri chilli powder – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Lemon juice – 3 tbsp
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Special spice (tandoori masala)

  • Coriander seeds – 3 tsp
  • Cumin seeds – 3 tsp
  • Dry Kashmir chilli – 2
  • Mace – 1
  • Black pepper corns – 1/2 tsp
  • Nutmeg – 1/4 or 1/8
  • Black cardamom (big) – 1/2
  • Red colour (kesar) – 1 tsp
  • Second marinade

  • Yoghurt – 1 cup
  • Kashmiri chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Chaat masala – 1/2 tsp
  • Garam masala- 1 tsp
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 2 tsp
  • Special spice – 3 tsp
  • Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
  • Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Salt - as per taste
  • Additional ingredients

  • Orange, green, yellow peppers (sliced) – 3/4 cup
  • Onion (sliced) – 1
  • Green chillies (sliced) – 3
  • Chaat masala
  • Lemon wedges or lemon juice
  • Garam masala
  • Tandoori masala
  • Butter

Method

  • Take the whole chicken and cut into 4 pieces, as served in restaurants or ask the butcher to do the job.
  • Make incisions in the chicken legs, thighs and breast pieces with a sharp knife.
  • For the garnishing, slice the vegetables; bell pepper any colour, onion, green chillies, keep it ready.
  • Roast the whole spices on a dry pan or tava, until it starts leaving aroma and colour changes on low flame for few minutes. Allow it to cool and ground to powder. Keep it aside.
  • For hung yoghurt (curd)

  • Put the yoghurt in a muslin cloth and put it in a strainer over the bowl or hang it in a bowl, for 30minutes in a fridge or sometimes I do the preparations earlier itself to save time, that is I keep it in the fridge overnight (previous night), so that I can use it next day.
  • For the tandoori chicken, there are 2 steps.
  • Marinating and baking it in oven.

    For marination

  • For the first marinade, mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
  • Apply the first marinade all over the chicken pieces. Rub nicely in between the incisions, so that marinade goes well under the meat.
  • Sprinkle a small pinch of Kashmiri chilli powder on each piece again and rub well.
  • Refrigerate for 1 hr, sometimes I even do for 4 hrs.
  • Second marinade

  • Take a wide bowl, add the hung curd (yoghurt) and other second marinade ingredients in a bowl. Mix well and keep it ready. Check the seasoning.
  • Rub the mixture on the chicken, in between the incisions, so that the chicken is well coated with the marinate.
  • Refrigerate the marinated chicken for 2 days or 2 overnights.
  • Take out from the fridge 30 to 40 minutes (for room temperature) before you start cooking. (Don’t rub or mix again the chicken) you can see that the chicken marinate has left some liquid.
  • Preheat the oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 230c and keep it ready. My oven is gas oven, adjust the timings according to your oven.
  • Drizzle some oil ½ tsp each on each chicken pieces and keep it ready, Place a aluminium foil in the baking tray, place the rack (broiler or oven rack) which is brushed with oil, on top of the roasting pan. Remove the chicken pieces and place on the the rack.
  • Keep the baking tray in the middle part of oven and cook for 15 to 20 minutes first , check in between so that it is not burnt and dry, turn the chicken pieces , brush with oil and cook for 15minutes or until chicken is cooked.
  • Now remove the chicken pieces and change to grill from oven, to give the chicken pieces the charred colour like restaurant style.
  • Baste the chicken with melted butter and keep the baking tray with rack on which chicken pieces are placed, above, very near to grill, to get the charred colour on the chicken pieces. Keep a eye on the chicken also, as it should not be over charred. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes each side.
  • After turning other side, baste the chicken with butter again and cook until the chicken gets the charred colour well like restaurant style.
  • Remove the rack with chicken pieces and keep it aside.
  • Take a aluminium foil brush little butter on the foil, place the hot chicken piece and brush little butter on top of the chicken and wrap or enclose the foil for 15 to 30minutes, to make the chicken juicy and delicious.
  • Do for the remaining chicken pieces also, keep it aside.
  • Meanwhile, for garnishing, add all the vegetables in a same baking tray where all the juices of chicken are dropped or burnt, add a pinch of garam masala, salt and special spice (tandoori masala) , sprinkle on the vegetable and grill for few minutes in the oven on grill high temperature until it is lightly charred.
  • Sprinkle some lemon juice on the vegetables as per taste; mix all the vegetables, place it on a serving plate first then place the chicken pieces from the foil.

Notes

  • The left over liquid and the marinate, I have used for the butter chicken sauce. (refer recipe).
  • Sometimes I prepare the tandoori chicken in advance and wrap it in foil, when serving just heat it in the oven with foil wrap (it will not make the chicken dry) or without (apply butter again to keep the chicken moist) until it is hot and serve hot.
  • If you want to prepare the tandoori chicken in advance and keep it ready for next day just avoid the grilling part, cook until the chicken is cooked and wrap it in foil with butter, to keep the chicken moist and when the guests arrive just grill for 3 to 4 minutes, each side, basting with butter on each side.
  • Instead of colour, you can use saffron (kesar) or in shops you can buy beetroot vegetable powder for colour.
  • I have used the same tandoori chicken pieces to prepare butter chicken.
  • You can shred the tandoori chicken and prepare wraps or sandwiches.
  • At home, you can use small or medium sized fillets.

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