Tandoori chicken cooked at home!

February 13th, 2013

the king of kebabs – tandoori chicken!!

Here is my version of the ‘king of kebabs’, AKA tandoori chicken, which you can make at home even if you do not have a tandoor. Last year I wrote about my memory of this wonderful dish which reminds me so much of my father. If you’re keen for the story, click here. If you’re simply keen for the recipe, scroll down!


Preparing the chicken for the first marinade:

1 kg whole chicken, with the skin on

whole chicken

1. Skin the chicken & remove any excess fat & sinew. Also, remove the parson’s nose.

skin chicken & remove excess fat & trim

2. Remove the ends of the winglets on each side.

remove the ends of winglets on either side

3. Trim the ends of the drumsticks.

trim the ends of the drumsticks

4. Make a tiny slit between the thigh & the drumstick on each side, without cutting it fully.

gently make a slit between the thigh & the drumstick on each side, without cutting it fully

5. Make three evenly spaced slits on each drumstick, lengthways.

make three evenly spaced slits on each drumstick, lengthways

6. Make three slits on each thigh, as well.

do the same lengthways slit on each thigh, as well


each chicken leg should look like this

7. Make two slits along each breast, lengthways.

make two slits lengthwise along each breast

8. The chicken is now ready for the first marinade.

the prepared chicken should look like this!!


First Marinade

1. 2 tablespoons white vinegar
2. 1 teaspoon cooking salt
3. 1 1/2 teaspoons kashmiri chilli, ground

ingredients for first marinade: white vinegar, kashmiri chilli [ground] & salt

Tandoori masala/second marinade

1.1 1/2 cup thick yoghurt
2. 1 tablespoon ground ginger
3. 1 tablespoon ground garlic
4. 2 tablespoons ground kashmiri chillies, soaked in oil
5. 2 teaspoons kebab garam masala
6. salt, to taste

kashmiri chillies soaked in oil & kashmiri chillies ground to a fine paste

ingredients for second marinade/tandoori masala:
top row, left to right: yoghurt, crushed ginger & crushed garlic
bottom row, nilgiri’s garam masala, ground kashmiri chillies & salt


1. Skin the chicken, remove any excess fat but leave some as it helps keep the bird moist. Prepare the chicken for the first marinade.

chicken ready for the First Marinade

2. Prepare the chicken for the second marinade/tandoori masala by applying the white vinegar, salt and the chilli.

marinate the chicken with vinegar, making sure you rub gently into all the slits
add the salt & rub in
add the chilli powder & massage gently into the breast
do the same with the legs

3. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

the chicken should look like this after the first marinade
cover & refrigerate for 30 minutes

4. Prepare the second marinade by blending the yoghurt with the crushed ginger, crushed garlic, ground chillies with oil, garam masala, salt together to form a ‘tandoori masala’.

start with yoghurt for the second marinade
add crushed ginger
add crushed garlic
mix well
add salt
add ground kashmiri chillies in oil
mix well & check for seasoning
add nilgiri’s garam masala & fold
the Second Marinade/Tandoori Masala is ready

5. Remove the chicken from the fridge and apply the Tandoori Masala onto the marinated chicken.

apply the tandoori masala on the marinated chicken
apply the marinade all over the chicken, massaging gently in every slit & cavity
another angle of the marinated chicken

6. Cover and place the marinated chicken in the fridge for about an hour.

marinated chicken, ready to go!!
cover & refrigerate for about an hour

7. Remove the chicken from the fridge, place a skewer through the chicken. place the chicken in an earthenware, or clay, pot and place this in a pre-heated oven, temp. 160C.

run a skewer through the chicken & place on an earthenware pot or roasting tray with your choice of spices to give a ‘smoked’ flavour!

8. Cook in the oven for about 45 mins, or till the meat is cooked.

place the chicken in a pre-heated oven at 160 C
chicken cooking in the oven after 10-15 minutes
chicken after 25 minutes

9. To caramelise the chicken, turn on the grill in the oven. Cook for about 5 mins, or till the meat is golden.

chicken almost cooked, after 45 minutes, it is now ready for the grill
chicken after being grilled
tandoori chicken, hot from the oven

10. Serve the ‘king of kebabs’ with a mint and coriander chatni, sliced onions and a lemon wedge.

tandoori chicken, with onion rings, lemon wedge & mint & coriander chatni


Mint and Coriander Chatni


1. 1 bunch fresh mint, roots removed and some of the thick stems taken off, washed
2. 1 big bunch fresh coriander, roots taken off, stem removed, washed
3. 4-5 small green chillies
4. 1 tablespoon pomegranate extract
5. salt, to taste
6. 1 red onion
7. lemon wedge


1. Grind all the ingredients, except for the red onion and lemon wedge, to a fine paste. Add salt, as required.

grind all the chatni ingredients (apart from the red onion and lemon wedge)  to a fine paste. add salt

2. Refrigerate and serve with the hot chicken alongside the sliced red onion and lemon wedge.


mint chatni, ready for the chicken, refrigerate until required


the perfect accompaniment to the “king of kebabs”!!

A few things to remember:

1. Buy the chicken with the skin on as this keeps the meat moist, even if you are not marinating it the same day.
2. Remember to prepare the chicken for the second marinade by applying the first marinade. Do not add the first marinade to the second and apply it on to the bird altogether. This won’t save you time, also, the marinade will not stick to the chicken.
3. To get the red colour, soak the chillies in lukewarm water till they swell (balloon), then squeeze the chillies and crush in a food processor with some vegetable oil.
4. Cook the chicken at a temperature of 160- 170 C as this keeps the meat moist and allows the chicken to cook from the ‘inside – out’.
5. To caramelise the chicken, flash under a hot grill or do as I do here!
6. Add your choice of whole spices to the earthenware pot before placing the chicken in it. As the oven heats up, so do the spices and the smoked flavour permeates into the meat.
Anah Daata Sukhi Bhava!!!


  1. BreAnna @ Crafty Coin

    The flavors of this look just spectacular!

  2. FrugalHausfrau

    I just had to comment on how wonderful this looks, and this is a dish I didn’t really think I could attempt at home – before! I’ll be pinning it and can’t wait to try! Thanks for all the step by step, too!
    I just followed you, so I’ll be looking forward to reading more. 🙂

  3. Ajoy’s Tandoori chicken oven-cooked | Feast Wisely

    […] Link to Enjoy’s blog: Ajoy’s whole Tandoori chicken oven-cooked […]

  4. thecasualfoodblogger

    This looks so delicious, thank you for the recipe!

  5. Mr Sumit

    Amazing! I would never have thought to make these myself. Now I have to try it! Thanks for sharing this. Chicken is one of my favourite food.

  6. Lekshmy Rajendran

    Thank u for the reply sir. No delay. I am making this on Sunday. Looking forward to see more from you.

  7. Ajoy Joshi

    Hi Lekshmy,
    Extremely sorry for this delay.
    I have been very busy with a new venture coming up soon.
    You may use any of the two spice mixes but please do not roast them before grinding as this cooks them ‘twice’ thereby making them bitter!!
    Happy cooking !!

  8. Lekshmy Rajendran

    Dear Sir,
    Thank you so so much for this wonderful recipe. I am planning to try this next weekened. I had a couple of doubts regarding the recipe. In the ingredients list you mentioned Kebab masala. But in the picture caption and step by step you mentioned Nilgiri masala. Is it ok to use any one of this ? I have stored them both in jars according to your instructions. Should I dry roast the spices before I pound them ?
    Also which type of mint leaves have you used in the chatni ? Hope you get the time to reply. Thank you.
    Regards, Lekshmy

  9. Ajoy Joshi

    Hi Cindy,
    Thanks for your feedback.
    The spices used at the bottom are all or some of the spices used in the ‘garam masala’ for this recipe.
    Happy cooking!!

  10. Cindy Silva

    Beautiful instructions 🙂
    Please forgive me if someone has asked this before, but what are your “choice of spices” that you put in the bottom of the clay pot for the smokey flavor?
    Thank you,

  11. rathodpurvi

    I am so glad i stumbled upon ur blog. Have never seen a more detailed recipe anywhere..Hope to learn lots from u..

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  13. Vishnu B

    Dear sir,
    Thank you for sharing such an easy method of making tandoori at home. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and recipies

  14. pawanarya2

    Dear Ajoy, I have tried a number of your recipes now including this tandoori chicken and I can say that it has been a joy cooking following your recipes and results have been fantastic. Thank you for sharing all the knowledge and tips in a simple yet effective way. On other note, do you have recipes specifically aimed at small children? The challenge I have is to let my children appreciate Indian food but they seem to remain obsessed with chicken nuggets or fish fingers with chips!

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