Tandoori chicken is a really popular dish, and food good reason. It’s tender, juicy, and full of flavor.
What is Tandoori Chicken?
I think it’s fair to say tandoori chicken is probably one of the most ordered dishes at any Indian restaurant (alongside butter chicken). It’s typically marinated with yogurt and spices and then baked in a tandoor, aka a clay oven. I like to use unsweetened full-fat coconut milk in place of yogurt (you won’t taste the coconut – it just helps tenderize the chicken the way that yogurt does).
I think most restaurants use artificial color to get that signature red tandoori color. If you prefer your chicken without the red dye, you can get a more natural red hue by using paprika or Kashmiri red chili powder.
Now keep in mind that no amount of paprika can get you that restaurant shade of red, but here’s how I add a natural reddish hue to my tandoori chicken: make a couple of deep incisions on each drumstick, and then with a spoon, add a mixture of paprika, salt, and lime. Do this before adding the marinade, and you’ll get a redder color than you would otherwise. Additionally, this will help get more flavor into the chicken.
When you blend your marinade, it will have some texture to it. You don’t need it to be a completely smooth paste. The texture will make your chicken look a little more authentic, and you’ll be able to better taste some of the individual flavors in the marinade. Once the chicken is well coated, add a couple of tablespoons of mustard oil on top. This will give the chicken a nice sheen and add a touch of tanginess to the dish.
Marinate the chicken for 30 minutes in the fridge, then bring it to room temperature and pop it in the oven.
When you take a bite of this chicken, you’ll see that it’s just as good if not better than what you’ll get in any restaurant.
- 4 pounds of chicken drumsticks skin removed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ lime juiced
- 8 garlic cloves
- 2 inches ginger roughly chopped
- ½ lime juice
- 4 tablespoons of coconut milk ideally, use the cream from the top of a can of refrigerated full-fat coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- ½ tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 4 cardamom pods
- 5 cloves whole
- 1 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
- 1 teaspoon paprika adjust to taste
- ½ teaspoon cayenne powder
- 2 tablespoons mustard oil
- Rinse chicken and remove the skin. With a sharp knife, make 2 deep incisions in each drumstick and cut the tendon on each drumstick.
- Make a spice paste by combining salt, paprika, and lime juice in a small bowl. Rub the paste into the cuts in chicken.
- While the chicken is absorbing the flavors from the spice paste, coarsely grind your coriander, cumin, fennel, cardamom, and cloves in a spice grinder.
- In a blender, add garlic, ginger, lime juice, coconut milk, salt, paprika, cayenne, and freshly ground spices. Blend together and add the mixture to the chicken. Once the chicken is well coated, add a couple of tablespoons of mustard oil on top.
- Place the chicken in the refrigerator to marinate for about 20 minutes. Take out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature before putting it in the oven.
- Place the drumsticks on a wire rack sitting on top of a foil-lined pan.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees on the convection setting and cook for 20 minutes or until done.
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