Tandoori Chicken - 2 Ways

What is your take on helping strangers?  I guess it depends on the circumstances, right?  If I see old people need a hand to unload their shopping cart, I will be more than happy to help.  What if some stranger asks for a ride in your car?  I will be little intimidated to offer the help.  One such incident happened when we were done with our 5K run which happened in downtown where the instruction was to park the car in downtown and commute to the starting point of the race.  Since me and my friends were a year old veterans of the 5K run, from our past experience we parked at the finishing point which is half a mile walk away from the starting point and that was a wise choice to avoid the commute back to the downtown parking lot which needs transportation by either subway or cab.  After the run was complete 2 ladies approached us and asked if we could drop them to the train station.  I knew their situation and the mistake they made by parking in downtown and going back was not easy other than getting a cab.  But they told us that they used all the change to get to the starting point of the race by getting a cab and they had no choice other than asking for a ride from fellow desis.  Being complete strangers and knowing their situation, I was in a dilemma if I should let these strangers into my car or my inner conscious telling me to help the ladies who really need help.  I quickly checked with my friend who was with me for the run and we decided to give them the ride through silent gestures.  I was glad that I could help them and they were so thankful for the ride to the train station.  Looking back I feel good that I was able to help those ladies who were doing their 5k for the first time who might have ended up with trouble getting back to their cars and dropped the idea of the doing the 5K next time.  If I was alone, I am not sure if I would have acted like that, I would rather call some volunteers to help the runners.  It is hard to be a Good Samaritan when you hear the scary stores daily in the news.

Today I went to grab some potting soil for my gardening at lunch from work and the bags were so heavy that I was struggling hard to get it into the trunk of my car.  An elderly man who was walking into the store kindly offered me the help and I couldn't thank him enough for offering me a hand to lift those heavy bags.  It  is relieving to realize that goodness like integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity and moral courage still exist in this world where evil and crime has a huge share.  

Tandoori Chicken is a very popular Indian dish that has traversed a long way across the seas and don't need any special introduction.  Traditionally the well marinated chicken is prepared in a cylindrical clay oven called Tandoori oven which imparts the distinct flavor for this dish.  Convenience is the motto these days and this dish has evolved so much from its traditional way of preparation.  Here I have depicted 2 different methods of preparation of Tandoori Chicken.  Both methods produces almost the same results, but I prefer preparing it over the grill which is much easier.  Hope you will try this recipe for your next BBQ.

10 - Chicken drumsticks or thighs

8 - fat garlic cloves
1 inch - fresh peeled ginger piece
1/4 cup - fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 tsp. - freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp. - kashmiri chili powder (refer notes)
1/2 tsp. - Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. - red chili powder
4 - dry red small hot chili (optional)
2 tbsp. - yogurt
4 tbsp. - freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp. - oil
1/2 tsp. - Dry Fenugreek leaves/Kasuri methi (refer notes)
salt to taste


  • Skin, trim the fat and wash the Chicken drumsticks/thighs.  Drain them in a strainer and use paper towel to remove any excess water. 
  • Prepare the marinade by grinding all the ingredients under Marinade except dry fenugreek leaves to a thick paste.  If needed add excess lemon juice and a tbsp. of water.  Taste the marinate at this time for salt.  Rub the fenugreek leaves between your palm and add to the marinade and mix well.
  • Take 1 tbsp. of the marinade into a separate bowl and reserve for brushing later.
  • Using a kitchen glove you can rub the marinade over the chicken pieces or put the chicken pieces in a gallon ziplock bag, add the marinade to it and shake well to coat over all the chicken pieces evenly.  If using ziplock bag, add additional tbsp. of oil to ease this step.  Using a wooden skewer poke on the thick fleshy parts of the chicken to enable even absorption of flavors.
  • Keep the chicken in the refrigerator preferably for overnight or at least 4 hrs.
Method 1 - Baking directions
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.  Line a baking pan with aluminum foil, grease the aluminum foil.
  • Arrange the chicken pieces on the baking pan.  Using a pastry brush try to apply the marinade over the chicken where you missed the spot.  Discard the excess marinade liquid.
  • Leave it open and bake for 30 minutes.  Flip the chicken pieces and bake for another 20 minutes.  Carefully take the baking pan/tray out, there will be juicy marinade along with the chicken broth which has all the required flavor in the baking pan.  Tilt the pan so that you can collect the flavorful juice into the same bowl where you reserved the 1 tbsp. of the marinade.
  • Heat a grilled cast iron pan, apply little bit of oil on the pan, place the chicken pieces on the pan, 2 at a time, apply the reserved marinade on top of the pan.  Cook on very low heat till the brown marks starts to appear on the chicken.  Flip the side;apply the marinade and repeat the process till the raw smell of ginger and garlic is gone and the chicken has no pink inside.
Method 2 - Grilling directions
  • Add 2 tbsp. of oil and 1 tbsp. of lemon juice into the reserved marinade and mix well.
  • Pre-heat the grill to 350°F.  Line the grill with aluminum foil.  Use a skewer to poke few holes.  Line the chicken on the grill.  Cover and cook for half hour.  Flip the side and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Using the tongs, take the chicken piece into a bowl.  Remove the aluminum foil.  Cut a onion into half.  Use a big fork to hold the onion; dip it in a tbsp. of oil.  Brush the grill with this onion.  Now place the chicken directly on top of the grill.  Lower the temperature to 300 F.  Apply the marinade on the chicken, flip the sides and cook till the chicken is well done and brown grill marks appear on the chicken.
  • Use lemon slices/wedges, red onion rings and chopped Cilantro as toppers for these spicy delicious chicken.
  • It is important to drain the chicken well in order to avoid lots of moisture oozing during the time of baking.
  • Don't discard the juice or broth that is used in this recipe while baking.  It adds the juiciness and flavor to the chicken.
  • Marinating the chicken for overnight enhances the flavor of the chicken.
  • You can find dry fenugreek leaves/Methi leaves and Kashmiri Chili powder in any Indian store.  Kashmiri Chili powder and turmeric powder gives the distinct red color for this dish.  I have not used any red color for this dish.  
  • Kashmiri Chili powder is milder than the regular chili powder.

Popular Posts