Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Simple Tandoori Chicken with Basmati Rice, Grilled Onions and Lemon


When I think of  Tandoori Chicken, I'm instantly brought back to my days in New York City. There was a small, authentic Indian restaurant right around the corner from our tiny walk-up apartment. My husband and I would visit the restaurant whenever we were looking for a super relaxed evening of sitar music, Kingfishers and the Chef's first rate - straight from the clay oven - screaming red - perfectly cooked -Spicy Tandoori Chicken!

Those. Were. The. Days.

I wanted to recreate that tandoori chicken experience at home...or at least the best I could being a 30 something white woman living in suburban New Jersey with no clay oven, no authentic Indian cookware ...and sadly... (and surprisingly...I know)......no sitar.

The goal was to get the Tandoori Chicken as close to red as possible...something I've struggled with in the past...

The Tandoori recipes I've made before always turn out yellow (no doubt from the turmeric powder added to the marinade).  Many recipes online will tell you to add red food coloring to the dish to attain that classic red......but surely... there had to be another way?

Three tablespoons of paprika (2 sweet/1 hot) and two tablespoons of tomato paste turned my marinade from a light yellow color, to one with shades of red. I allowed the chicken thighs to marinate for one and a half hours before cooking them atop a scorching hot grill!

A quick and easy, wonderful "home version" of a classic Indian Tandoori...and a welcome addition to our repertoire of weeknight family dinners!  The adapted recipe follows...


Tandoori Chicken
completely adapted from this Tandoori Chicken recipe at Simply Recipes


1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 Tbsp garam masala
2 Tbsp sweet paprika
1 Tbsp hot paprika
1 cup plain yogurt
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
4 minced garlic cloves
2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs


Mix all the ingredients together until well mixed. Add your chicken to the marinade, cover and chill for at least an hour (preferably 6 hours), no more than 8 hours.

Prepare your grill so that one side is quite hot over direct heat, the other side cooler, not over direct heat. If using charcoal, leave one side of the grill without coals, so you have a hot side and a cooler side. If you are using a gas grill, just turn on one-half of the burners. Use tongs to wipe the grill grates with a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil (Or spray your chicken with cooking spray). Take the chicken out of the marinade and shake off the excess. You want the chicken coated, but not gloppy. Put the chicken pieces on the hot side of the grill and cover. Cook 2-3 minutes before checking.

Turn the chicken so it is brown (even a little bit charred) on both sides, then move it to the cool side of the grill. Cover and cook for about 6 more minutes depending on the size of the chicken and the temperature of the grill. The chicken is done when its juices run clear.

Let it rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. It’s also great at room temperature or even cold the next day.

Serve with Basmati rice. Grilled Onions and Lemon optional but delish!!!

Yield: Serves 4-6.


Raquel.Erecipe said...

hi, Nice recipe, we don't have tandori chicken recipe here, but I think that is similar to our traditional recipe we call it chicken inasal =) chicken looks tempting.

Debbie B. said...

Looks awesome!

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

Awesome!! I was telling my sister about tandori chicken a few days ago and have been craving it ever since!! This one I'll be making for SURE - and now that I have a working camera again it might even make the blog :) Gee that'd be unique, the Kitchen Witch, making one of your recipes. I can't help it - you have great taste (the same as mine LOL)! :)

chow and chatter said...

this looks so good love all the spices been a while since I had a good tandoori chicken

Courtney said...

YUM! I do believe I could eat Indian food every day and never get sick of it. :)

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Love the photo and the grilled lemons absolutely take it over the top.

I really enjoy the flavors that paprika brings to a dish and like your idea of combining the sweet with the hot one.

Unknown said...

That is a gorgeous pieces of chicken! I've made tandoori chicken before but I don't think it ever came out looking as lovely as yours!!
By the way.. Loving the new look :)

Clint said...

Looks really, really good. I don't know what Tandoori or Basmati means, but I know what a sitar is.

Unknown said...

It is so pretty and vibrant

Nuts about food said...

What??? No Sitar??? You should feel ashamed!
On a more serious note, your tandoori looks really good. Unfortunately, until you build a tandoor in your garden, it will never seem totally authentic. I hope I didn't just give you some strange ideas...

Joanne said...

Which indian restaurant was it? Sounds like it's a place I need to check out!

This tandoori chicken looks delicious. Love those flavors.

Unknown said...

Thanks everyone for your comments!

@nutsaboutfood it HAS crossed my mind!!!

@Joanne the restaurant was Dakshin on 1st Ave between 88th & 89th...we LOVED it 10 yrs ago...!

marla said...

Your tandoori chicken looks wonderful! Lovely blog too :)

Magic of Spice said...

Your tandoori chicken came out beautifully...paprika looks as though it did the trick here :)