Tandoori Chicken | The Novice Housewife

In North India, we love our Tandoori Chicken, and I have grown up on the best Tandoori chicken recipes out there.

For a very long time, Tandoori Chicken was the only way I wanted my chicken. I even preferred it to the popular butter chicken. Though later came a time where the latter triumphed over the former, but now I have an equal liking for both.

Tandoori chicken- the preferred snacking choice when I have beer in my hand; butter chicken with roti or naan when sitting for a meal.

Tandoori Chicken | The Novice Housewife

When I was younger, my dad was posted at Hindan, a place that is an hour’s drive from India’s capital city, Delhi. A few kilometers from Air Force Station Hindan was a very famous eatery called Soni Da Dhabba. Every time we had a craving for Tandoori Chicken, my dad would pick his Bajaj scooter, sometimes with us on board and sometimes not, to pick up a to-go order of Tandoori Chicken, Dal Makhani and rotis. It was almost a ritual for us, and nobody, absolutely nobody made food the way Soni da dhabba made. We were faithful customers and continued going there till my dad got posted out five years later.

We still talk about that dhaba’s food to this day. Anybody who came to stay with us also fondly remembers about Soni’s dal and his tandoori chicken. Its been years since we had a taste of these items from the restaurant, and I do not even know if its still running or if it still stands up to its name, but Soni’s food will always stay as a very happy gastronomical memory for every one in my family.

Tandoori Chicken | The Novice Housewife

In my repertoire I now have a great recipe for dal makhani and can safely say that if not exactly the same, the recipe is as close as it can get to Soni dhabba’s dal. I think the memories associated makes Soni’s dal unachievable in this lifetime. But going by the reviews written by the people who have tried the recipe, its a close second. Plus, I have adapted it to make it in the slow cooker too!

And while I have also perfected the butter chicken recipe, tandoori chicken was something I had not got spot on. Well, I hardly ever tried, making mostly chicken tikka in my kitchen instead. Until now.

Tandoori Chicken | The Novice Housewife

My mom is blessed with very talented cooks in her kitchen, and this is a recipe that I learnt from another one of her cooks. With grilling season on in the States, and Football fever all over the world, this is the perfect time for you to make this recipe. And the prep just takes five minutes. The results are lip smackingly good. Trust me.

The key to success in this recipe is the use of whole spices. Trust me they do make a difference. You could make this with substituting a bit of garam masala for the whole spices you do not have in your pantry, but if you carry the spices listed I highly recommend you to grind them fresh.

Another important thing to keep in mind is to use hung curd/yogurt. The water in the yogurt toughens the chicken so it is best removed. Just keep the required amount tied in a muslin cloth on top of a bowl for a few hours or so in the refrigerator, until the whey separates. The resulting thick yogurt is what you use to marinate. To the leftover whet, you can add freshly roasted cumin powder to the whey and some ice, making a very refreshing drink while you marinate the chicken.

Serve the tandoori chicken with the mint chutney I have on the blog (seriously you do no need any other mint chutney recipe- THIS ONE IS IT!) and some lemon and chopped onion rings, and you have a great dish to serve with drinks or otherwise.

Tandoori Chicken | The Novice Housewife

5.0 from 2 reviews
Tandoori Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Roasted chicken with indian spices. And easy recipe with great results!
Recipe type: Snack, appetizer
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 3-4
  • 600-700 gms chicken thighs and legs (with bones)
For the marinade:
  • 4-5 pieces whole cashews, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
  • 2 black cardamoms, only seeds
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 8-10 whole black peppercorn
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • 8-10 pieces garlic
  • 1 tsp chopped green chillies
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 4 tbsp thick yogurt (hung curd)
  • 2 tbsp chaat masala (or if you do not have chaat masala, use the juice of a lemon, but chaat masala helps to thicken the marinade)
  • 1-2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • pinch red food coloring (I used powdered but you can use liquid as well, or none at all)
  • oil, for basting
  1. Clean and dry the chicken pieces. Starting with a well dried chicken is key to a tender roasted chicken.
  2. Grind all the ingredients listed under paste.
  3. Make few cuts/slits across each chicken piece. This helps the marinade to seep in the chicken, resulting in a more flavorful and tender roasted chicken. Mix in the marinade.
  4. Keep covered in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  5. When ready to eat, mix in the food coloring in the marinated chicken and mix well. Baste chicken with oil and grill in the oven or electric tandoor for 15-20 minutes, turning once.


Tandoori Chicken | The Novice HousewifeLooking for more Indian meal inspiration check these links out:

  1. Dal Makhani 
  2. Butter Chicken
  3. Mint Chutney



17 Thoughts on “Garam Masala Tuesdays: Tandoori Chicken

  1. Mumbadiva on 17 June, 2014 at 5:00 am said:

    Hey Shumaila,

    Can I use Greek yogurt in place of the hung one?



  2. oh yessss bookmarking this one toooo 🙂 yummmyyyyyyyyyyy
    Bikram recently posted..2 in 1 – Wordless Wednesday(44) and Thursday Challenge (51)- BRIGHT COLORSMy Profile

  3. I loved the colour of the tandoor chicken and very easy and flavourful
    Preetha recently posted..Peas Mutta Fry ~ A Kozhikode Street FoodMy Profile

  4. Tandoori chicken is my all time favourite. Looks delicious!
    indugetscooking recently posted..Mini PavlovaMy Profile

  5. Hi Shumaila,

    Landed on your blog from the food photography fb page.. Love your posts , have bookmarked a few already !! 🙂 Superb clicks.. 🙂
    Najla recently posted..Barbeque Chicken PizzaMy Profile

  6. Johnny on 20 June, 2014 at 5:57 am said:

    Lovely. And I know it tastes goooood.:)

  7. Yummy!! We love tandoori chicken and I can’t wait to try this recipe 🙂
    Kiran @ KiranTarun.com recently posted..Lemon Curd TartletsMy Profile

  8. Radhika on 30 June, 2014 at 11:56 pm said:

    So i tried this yesterday and it is YUM! Thanks Shaloo 🙂

    Made a few modifications:
    1. Added large cubes of paneer (for myself as am vegetarian for sometime:/) onion and green bell peppers to the marinade along with the chicken
    2. Didn’t feel like grilling. so just heated some oil in a wok and added the chicken to it. Cooked it covered for about 15 minutes (till almost done). Then added the paneer, capsicum, onions and remaining marinade and cooked covered for another 10 minutes till the chicken was fully done and the marinade was nicely incorporated into all the ingredients – made a wonderful thick gravy.
    Ate with hot rotis and rum & coke while watching France Vs Nigeria.

  9. Hi,
    I tried this. Thanks a lot for the recipe.It was sooooooooo good even though i overcooked it a bit. I baked for 25 mins on 550 F and then 10 mins on 450 F. Broiled it for 1-2 mins. I used Thighs and drumsticks. Do you have any tried and tested method for making this in the oven?


  10. shweta on 14 July, 2015 at 9:34 am said:

    the dish looks very enticing… i would love to try it..but I have some questions:

    a) can i make chicken tikkas using this recipe
    b) how to grill the chicken using oven (should i put the chicken pieces directly over the wired rack or will it be fine to put them on the tray
    c) what exactly are the ingredients to be ground or made a paste

  11. Pingback: Chicken Tikka : Garam Masala Tuesdays - The Novice Housewife

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