Tandoori Chicken “The ultimate 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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