Tandoori Chicken Recipe (Without a Tandoor Oven)

Ultimate Tandoori Chicken

(foodgawked)

Vasanth & I hardly went out for a date before our wedding. So I don’t have any pre-wedding memories. But I still remember the first time we went to a restaurant and what he ordered. It is 3+ years now and still he orders the same food whenever we visit an Indian restaurant. His favorite are Chicken Biriyani and Tandoori Chicken. Being a dharm pathni (obedient wife), I have made his favorite chicken biriyani umpteen times. But I wanted to delight him by making his favorite Tandoori Chicken.  My recipe hunt for a classic Tandoori Chicken ended when I borrowed Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking from a local library. I was more excited because it could be made at home without an authentic tandoor oven.  Are you excited too? This is the ultimate recipe for Tandoori Chicken and you can believe me. I promise I am not exaggerating 😉

If you are thinking about dieting, then you might want to count on Indian cuisine. It offers wide range of options when you are dieting. Especially food made through tandoori technique is oil less and does not contain any ingredients that will add to  your body fat. On SBD, you can replace chicken drumsticks with chicken breast and enjoy a great tasting dish.

How it tasted?

Hold the chicken drumstick in your hand, dip it generously in the spicy green chutney and have a bite. The flesh inside is nice and juicy and the chutney gives a nice kick to it. mmmmmmm… hmmm… Slurpppp…. I made this for a potluck party @ work and this is what my colleagues said ‘This is the best tandoori chicken we have ever had and much better than the restaurant ones’. This popular chicken recipe got five stars from everyone who tasted it. After 2 months I made this again today for 2 of us and once again it vanished in no time. I used conventional oven to make this and I bet you will never ever need a tandoor oven to whip up a restaurant style tandoori chicken at home. And the process of making it is fairly simple rather only 3 steps : Prepare Marinade + Marinate + Bake.

Source: Adapted from ‘Indian Cooking’ a book written by Madhur Jaffrey

Preparation : 30 minutes + marinating time ; Cooking Time : 25 minutes @ 550 F

Ingredients

  • Chicken – 1.5 lb / 680 gm / 5 leg piece

Marinade:

  • Low fat Yogurt / Curd – 1 cup
  • Onion – 1 (small around 57 gm)
  • Lime – 1/2
  • Garlic – 1 clove
  • Ginger – 1/2 inch (size of garlic), peel the skin off
  • Green Chili – 2
  • Garam Masala – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – 1 tsp or as per taste
  • Red food color + Orange Food Color (kesari powder) – few large drops

For Baking

  • Jelly roll pan or cookie tray.
  • Aluminium/Aluminum Foil
  • Pastry brush (optional)

Method

  • Wash the chicken legs. Let the water drain and place them on a large plate. Do not remove the skin part, it will actually protect the flesh when you bake. Create 2 slits on each side of the leg. The knife needs to touch the bone which means the slit is nice deep and big. This will help the marinade to penetrate into the chicken.
  • Squeeze 1/2 lime into a bowl. To the lime juice, add 1/2 tsp salt. Mix it well so that the salt dissolves. Now take 1 leg piece at a time, take some lime juice and massage the chicken on both sides. Using a spoon or your hand add few drops of lime juice into the slits and massage it. Repeat with other chicken piece. By the time you massage the last piece you would have very less juice, but that’s ok. Place them back on a plate and refrigerate it for 20-30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a blender/mixie, add yogurt/curd, garam masala, ginger, garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, green chili, sliced onion and grind it to a smooth paste. You might want to ensure that there are no small chunks of garlic or onion. Please feel free to adjust salt as per your taste. I have added extra salt to the paste.
  • Now take the chicken from the refrigerator. Remember the bowl that you used to squeeze lime, add few drops of food color and few drops of water. Using your hand or brush, rub the food color on the chicken piece. Remember to rub in between the slits as well. Now your chicken will look all red. Don’t panic :)
  • Pour the marinade in a large bowl or a freezer bag. Add one chicken piece at a time and massage the paste into the slits and on both sides and leave it in the bowl/bag. Repeat. Now close the bowl or zip the freezer bag. Give a nice shake and keep them back in the refrigerator. Now you can forget about the chicken at least for 8 hrs or one whole day. I usually marinate it a day before and let it soak for one whole day. More you marinate better the taste.
  • Next day: Clean up your oven (if you have any pots and pans in it) and preheat it to 550 F (that is the maximum I can set in my oven).  Take your cookie/jelly pan. Line it with aluminum foil generously. Take the marinated chicken out of your refrigerator, remove one leg piece and shake it up. Let the marinade drip completely. Place it on the cookie sheet/pan (ensure that the skin part covers the chicken). Repeat the same with other chicken pieces.
  • Using your oven mitts, carefully place the tray into the center rack of the oven. Set the timer for 15 minutes. Let it cook. Then use your oven mitts again and pull the tray out. Baste it with marinade  using a brush or a spoon or something else but not your hand and put it back in the oven for 10 minutes. Let the juices run out. Don’t worry if the juices around the chicken starts burning. At this extreme temperature it has to.
  • When the oven timer starts beeping, pull the tray out and let it cool slightly. Slowly take the chicken pieces. If it is stuck to the foil, no problem.  Remember I asked you to leave the skin part as is. So only the skin part might be sticking to it and the flesh part will still be safe :) Thats it, lip-smacking restaurant style tandoori chicken is ready to serve.

Serving Suggestion

Wrap the bone part with small piece of aluminum foil to give a gourmet look. Serve it with sliced onion, green chili, lime/lemon wedges and a spicy green chutney.

Variations

  • You can use Chicken breast or thighs, but the cooking time will vary as the breast will cook faster than the drumsticks.

Notes

You can use the remaining marinade to make curries like Tandoori chicken masala or Paneer Masala else you can freeze it and use it to make another batch of Tandoori Chicken.

Update: Maximum temperature settings in a oven varies from place to place. I came to know that 500 F is maximum in some oven. In that case set it to maximum and you might want to bake it little longer. But watch out the chicken, you really don’t want to burn it or make it dry. Best Tandoori Chicken should be little hard on the outside (you should have a crust bascially) and soft and juicy in the inside. So when you reach that consistency, turn off the oven.

Ultimate Tandoori Chicken

A glimpse from my kitchen

  • Wash the chicken legs. Let the water drain and place them on a large plate. Do not remove the skin part, it will actually protect the flesh when you bake. Create 2 slits on each side of the leg. The knife needs to touch the bone which means the slit is nice deep and big. This will help the marinade to penetrate into the chicken.

  • Squeeze 1/2 lime into a bowl. To the lime juice, add 1/2 tsp salt. Mix it well so that the salt dissolves. Now take 1 leg piece at a time, take some lime juice and massage the chicken on both sides. Using a spoon or your hand add few drops of lime juice into the slits and massage it. Repeat with other chicken piece. By the time you massage the last piece you would have very less juice, but that’s ok. Place them back on a plate and refrigerate it for 20-30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a blender/mixie, add yogurt/curd, garam masala, ginger, garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, green chili, sliced onion and grind it to a smooth paste. You might want to ensure that there are not small chunks of garlic or onion. Please feel free to adjust salt as per your taste. I have added extra salt to the paste.

Ultimate Tandoori Chicken

  • Now take the chicken from the refrigerator. Use the same bowl that you used to squeeze lime, add few drops of food color and few drops of water. Using your hand or brush, rub the food color on the chicken piece. Remember to rub in between the slits as well. Now your chicken will look all red. Don’t panic :)

  • Pour the marinade in a large bowl or a freezer bag. Add one chicken piece at a time and massage the paste into the slits and on both sides and leave it in the bowl/bag. Repeat. Now close the bowl or zip the freezer bag. Give a nice shake and keep them back in the refrigerator. Now you can forget about the chicken at least for 8 hrs or one whole day. I usually marinate it a day before and let it soak for one whole day. More you marinate better the taste.

  • Next day: Clean up your oven (if you have any pots and pans in it) and preheat it to 550 F (that is the maximum I can set in my oven).  Take your cookie/jelly pan. Line it with aluminum foil generously. Take the marinated chicken out of your refrigerator, remove one leg piece and shake it up. Let the marinade drip completely. Place it on the cookie sheet/pan (ensure that the skin part covers the chicken). Repeat the same with other chicken pieces.

  • Using your oven mitts, carefully place the tray into the center rack of the oven. Set the timer for 15 minutes. Let it cook. Then use your oven mitts again and pull the tray out. Baste it with some marinade  using a brush or a spoon or something else but not your hand and put it back in the oven for 10 minutes. Let the juices run out. Don’t worry if the juices around the chicken starts burning. At this extreme temperature it has to.
  • When the oven timer starts beeping, pull the tray out and let it cool slightly. Slowly take the chicken pieces. If it is stuck to the foil, no problem.  Remember I asked you leave the skin part as is. So only the skin part might be sticking to it and the flesh part will still be safe :) Thats it, lip-smacking restaurant style tandoori chicken is ready to serve.

Classic Tandoori Chicken

 

 

If you are looking for more Chicken Recipe ideas, please do not forget to check out my FN buddies blog

 

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Weelicious: Breaded Chicken Cutlets with Pea Salad
Sweet Life Bake: Chicken Fajitas
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Farmhouse Fried Chicken
Red or Green: Spicy Chicken Provencal with Peppers and Heirloom Tomatoes
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Sweet and Sour Sesame Chicken
Domesticate Me: Cilantro-Lime Grilled Chicken with Strawberry-Jalapeno Salsa
Devour: 5 Sizzling Skewers
Swing Eats: Long John Silver’s Style Fried Chicken Planks (Gluten-Free)
Food for 7 Stages of Life: Best Tandoori Chicken Recipe
Taste With The Eyes: Perfect Chicken Dish to Serve to a Crowd
FN Dish: Chicken is Better with Grill Marks

You are awesome!!! Thanks a bunch for leaving your valuable comment. It certainly makes me happy and helps me to learn and improve.

140 comments

  1. Deepti Pawar says:

    Its a lousy weekday afternoon and I am sitting here fighting my post-vacation jetlag with a cup of hot tea…which incidentally is also my best thing to make me forget the snow and freezing temps outside. I decide to go blog-hopping (and of course your blog drew me towards it as always!). And I see these this superb picture of Tandoori Chicken sitting on the right hand panel. I must say this has to be the most inviting pic on your blog! I’m going to give this one a shot as soon as this darned jet-lag gives way to normalcy. Oh and yes, we should try and catch up sometime if possible. Hope all is well with you. TC n haffun!

  2. dinesh goyal says:

    respected sir,
    please if possible send me receipe in hindi language , how i can make tandoori chiken at home without oven.also suggest me something which can not require hot when we serve , i want to start a business of refreshment (item will be prepair at home)i would like deliver on motor cycle on different places
    i am waiting for ur positive responce

  3. hagoda ruhi khan says:

    dhinchak item tha bawa.cylinder to fata sath mei meri plastic surgery hogai sath mei padosi ne mera tandura banaya.thankx baoji

  4. Divya Premkumar says:

    Thank u so much radhi….this is the first time am trying and it was ausome….cudnt believe that me and prem completed 6 pieces at a stretch….we did not add food colour,still it was gorgeous to c….we loved it radhi…thnk u so much again.

  5. Jane Rebelowski says:

    An great recipe and your directions are wonderful. It was as if a friend was showing me how to prepare her favorite dish. I look forward to learning more from you.

  6. uma says:

    hi radhika,
    have been doing this a couple of times………..Everytime it is simply wowwwwwwwwwwww…..
    gr8 going.

  7. Loamudra says:

    Dear Cooking Expert,

    ThnQ ThnQ Thnq…………..
    This is realy lovely help to prepare TONDOOR CHICKEN.
    After learning from ur recipe I had prepared Tondoor Chicken at my oven. N it came well.
    My husband loved this so much……. n he asked me to do again.
    ThnQ……

  8. Genny says:

    I love Madhur Jaffrey’s cookbook. (Even though it does not have such lovely step-by-step photos as your blog!) I got it from the library, too. After making a recipe from it, I bought a copy for myself :)

    Every time I try to make tandoor chicken in my standard oven — it always sets off the smoke alarm!

  9. Detroit says:

    okay, so i have the sauce in the bag with the chicken since yesterday. im just scarred about using 525F for 25 minutes, friends tell me to use lower heat and longer time. would that heat (525F) cook the chicken in 25 minutes?

  10. Saemma says:

    This was awesome! Thanks so much for sharing. Made it last weekend and the chicken turned out flavourful, moist and delicious!! Looking forward to some more this weekend!

  11. Mike says:

    Living in Spain its very difficult to find an Indian restaurant let alone one that does a good Tandoori but on a visit to the UK recently I stayed with my ex Indian neighbor in Maidenhead and his family took me to a great restaurant in Slough with a genuine clay oven.

    As I see it, you really should use a clay oven if possible as that can get up to 500 C compared to an electric oven that only reaches 250 C at most. Its a bit like a charcoal BBQ that is much hotter than a gas BBQ and best if you like your meat seared rather than cooked through.

    The problem is that clay ovens are very big, very expensive and not that practical for occasional tandoori cooking at home. I cook several types of curries at home but eating out 2 weeks ago re-ignited my interest to have a go once more using a standard oven.

    From using a BBQ for kebabs I’ve found that marinating the meat is probably the most important part as I marinate my chicken & pork kebabs in a mix of Italian herbs & spices, olive, vinegar and water for 12-24 hours before cooking and it works beautifully. Likewise, marinating chicken legs/breasts or lamb pieces for 12 hours or more in a tandoori mix is key to getting the flavor through the scoured meat.

    With the limitations of a regular oven, I’d agree that the best way would be to put it on max for around 15-30 minutes before putting the meat in and watch it carefully to make sure it doesn’t dry out. I guess that with a clay oven, its so hot that the meat cooks right through very quickly without losing moisture but reducing the temperature and cooking for longer is probably not a good idea as it will dry out the chicken/lamb.

    Any other thoughts anyone ?

  12. Zerene says:

    I tried this last weekend and needless to say it turned out super tasty – just like the store bought ones! Thanks a ton for this recipe.

  13. Tonya C. says:

    What a fantastic dish! Everyone in my family was impressed and that is how I like to roll! The aroma peeked their interest, the red coloring of the sizzling tasty meat made their eyebrows ease up and I could hear them saying, ” Mmmm, that looks so good “. Well, when I served a platter of Tandoori legs n thighs with a platter of Coconut Rice, it blew them all away. Magnificent meal indeed. Thanks. It’s a keeper. -Tonya C.

  14. Jayanthi Rajasekaran says:

    Hi Radhi
    I have tried tandoori using one of the brand masala, it came out ok..so I didnot think of doing it again, after reading ur recipe, I tried it again with the same steps as yours…while grinding itself, the aroma that came was so good. Raj was eager on what I was doing..When it was ready..omg the taste/aroma was excellent,just like a restaurant made.. thanks for the wonderful recipe
    Love
    Jayanthi

    • RV says:

      Aaah. thank you sweetie. I am so glad Raj and you enjoyed it. We should catchup sometime soon, probably in the summer. Hope the little one is doing good.

  15. linda says:

    Hi tandoori chicken was absolutely delicious and loved by all the family.Is there any chance you could tell me how to use the remaining marinade to make the Tandoori chicken masala curry.I would be very very grateful if you could.Thank you very much :)

    • RV says:

      Hi Linda, Thank you. I am glad your family loved it. You can try this recipe for Tandoori chicken masala.

      1 .Saute half finely chopped onion in 2-3 tbsp oil until it turns golden brown
      2. Add 1 finely chopped tomato and cook until mushy or oil separates
      3. Add chicken and saute for 4-5 minutes.
      4. Add 1 tbsp cashewnut or almonds paste, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder+ cayenne powder (as per taste)+ 1/2 tsp Coriander powder or 1 tsp curry powder.
      Adjust salt. Saute for few minutes.
      5. Add marinade, water as necessary and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the sauce is thick.
      6. You can add few tbsp of cream or evaporated milk for rich taste

      P.S: if you are using pre cooked chicken, in step 3 saute only a minute instead of 5 minutes

  16. preetha says:

    Hi …. u have a wonder blog.. i loved……it.. i have tried your Tandoori chicken …. i have made little changes from followed ur instructions ….. and it came out welll
    Thanks a lottttt

  17. Megha says:

    Tried this last night. It turned out awesome ! Absolutely on par with some of the better tandoori chicken we ve had at restaurants.

    Your detailed recipe is so easy to follow and the pains you take to explain the smaller points are much appreciated. The pictures are both useful as well as gorgeous.

    This was my first experiment with non-veg food in the oven and am pumped up with the success :) Thanks a bunch !

      • Megha says:

        Radhika,

        One year after first trying this recipe, it has become a staple in our diet. We have it twice a week either teamed up with a salad or mediterranean style with humus/pita bread/olives/fruit. Its as awesome as ever.

        I now prepare 8-10 legs in one go, store them in 4-5 legs per bag, marinate in fridge for 5-7 hours and then transfer to freezer. We use them within a week and just place them out for 1 hour+ before grilling. It makes dinners so easy while keeping them healthy and tasty.

        Cant thank you enough for sharing this recipe in your wonderful style.

        Cheers,

        Megha

        p.s. you don’t seem to be posting as frequently these days. Hope all is well with you.

        • Radhika Vasanth says:

          Thank you Megha. I can’t thank you enough for writing such a sweet comment. All is well at my end. Parents are visiting us and the weekends have been busy taking them around. Hope all is well with you.

  18. Kiana Brebes says:

    I am so happy I found your site. I really found you by accident, while I was browsing on Bing for something else. Anyways I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a informative post and an all round enjoyable blog. (I also like the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through it all at the minute, but I have added your website to my favorites, so when I have time I will be back to read more. Please do keep up the awesome job!

  19. jade says:

    hey…i have gone through many sites and blogs for recipes of many kind of foods.Mostly the home cooks sites will have clear description of a recipe but i have always felt they kinda lack something and i was never impressed with the picture of a finished product but lemme tell u …..for the first time in my life ..i am highly impressed with the procedure and the pictures depicting stuff at each stage …which is exactly what one needs as an impression and urge to try the dish..so guess what ..even though am a beginner in cooking..am gonna try and the credit goes to you

  20. chicken love says:

    mine OTG oven has the highest temp settings of 180 C , last time i tried to make chicken tandoor in it , th oven made all the pieces dry and was unable to eat , very much disappointed , now i am shopping for the microwave , grill oven only for making tandoori chicken.

  21. Leena says:

    Dear Radhika
    The tandoori chiken was soooo very awesome.I followed your instructions and it tasted wonderful.I never imagined I could make it this good.All the credit goes to you.I wish you would share more such recipiesThanks to you from my whole family.

  22. Rafal says:

    These kebabs are fantastic; juicy and flavourful. A breeze to put together. I served if with curry rice and salsa, Just perfect. We will be making this again. Thanks for sharing. Made for ‘went to the market’

  23. Swati Agrawal says:

    Hi, this is the first time I will be trying this gorgeous looking recipe. But I will be using an OTG, the temp of which is 250 C max. Any suggestions before I dive headlong into this recipe? Thank you and keep up the good work

    • Radhika Vasanth says:

      Thank you Swati for your interest. You can set the temp to 250C. That will be 482 F and it should be good enough. Many readers have used OTG to make this recipe and they loved it. Hope it helps.

      • Swati Agrawal says:

        Thanks so much for your reply. I still need your help, please. Will I have to cook for longer period than 15 and 10 mins? If yes, then for how long? And would basting every 5 mins prevent it from drying? Sorry, for asking so many questions. I really want to impress my husband with this recipe :)

        • Radhika Vasanth says:

          Sorry Swati just got carried away. You can baste every 5 mins but opening the oven door that frequently will bring down the temperature and it needs to reheat everytime. So I would do every 15 mins. If you have an oven thermometer I would suggest to use it. The optimal temperature for chicken is when it reaches 165 to 170 F. If not you can cook another 5-10 minutes

  24. sahilAneja says:

    I have LG microwave. I want to cook chicken breast in it. Please suggest time duration and mode(microwave,grill,convection).

  25. healthy chicken recipe says:

    Hey there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me
    of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this.
    I will forward this page to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read.
    Thank you for sharing!

  26. Fariyal says:

    Hi… Seems like a gr8 recipe.. Had a query.. Wenever I try to make chicken tikka in a conventional oven it becomes very dry.. How to make it soft and juicy?? Plzzz suggest..

  27. Kristine Hansen says:

    Finally! The recipe I’ve been looking for! Just a couple of questions: is it fair to assume the garam masala you use comes from an Indian market and not the grocery store (I have the MDH) . . and how should I adjust seasonings if I want to skip the food coloring and use Kashmiri red chili powder?? Thanks so much. Love your beautiful site!

    • Radhika Vasanth says:

      Thanks Kristine. You can use the store bought garam masala. MDH will work fine. You might want to add 1 tsp – 2 tsp kashmiri chili powder, you can omit green chili in that case. Please adjust the Kashmiri chili powder as per your spice preference.

    • Radhika Vasanth says:

      Thanks Kristine. You can use the store bought garam masala. MDH will work fine. You might want to add 1 tsp – 2 tsp kashmiri chili powder, you can omit green chili in that case. Please adjust the Kashmiri chili powder as per your spice preference.

  28. Eve says:

    I also added some quartered onion and an additional clove of garlic which I made sure some of which simmered in the pot with the glaze. 

  29. Hannah says:

    Yummmy! ChrissyO put me onto this one and boy am I glad she did. Sooooo easy and the aroma while cooking had my mouth watering!! Had to use breasts to cut down the fat content but other than that made it as stated. Thanks for a great keeper 

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