Tandoori-ish Chicken

By • October 18, 2012 0 Comments

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Author Notes: My husband and I both adore Indian Tandoori Chicken and I wanted to find a way to replicate the smoky flavors and high-heat, crusty char from a Tandoori oven at home. Since apartment living isn't really conducive to grilling, I turned to my broiler ( "essentially an upside down grill," as Mark Bittman once wrote) for high heat and to smoked Maldon salt and smoked paprika for that charcoal finish. As a bonus, the paprika naturally lends the chicken a slightly reddish hue, recalling the signature color of Tandoori chicken without the need for the artificial red food coloring normally used in traditional recipes.

I like to use boneless chicken thighs because they take less than 15 minutes to cook under the broiler and stay much moister than white meat. For the marinade, I prefer greek yogurt such as Fage 2%, which is thick enough that it won't make the chicken watery but has just enough fat in it to taste luscious. But of course, you could substitute any cut of chicken and any yogurt you would like, by simply adjusting the cooking time. Just don't marinate the chicken for much longer than a few hours because the acid in the yogurt can break down the chicken pretty quickly. In fact, this recipe tastes great even marinated for only 5 minutes, which makes it perfect for speedy weeknight cooking.

Finally, I won't judge anyone if they want to simplify and use a pre-mixed curry powder rather than all the separate spices. It won't taste quite the same, but hey, it works for my mom, a traditional Taiwanese cook, who doesn't keep as many Indian spices on hand as I do!


Makes 6 chicken thighs

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1.5 teaspoons tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot chili powder, or more or less to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • smoked Maldon salt to taste
  • a few grinds of fresh black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup strained or thick greek style yogurt (such as Fage)
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • lemon wedges and fresh chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)
  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Mix all of the spices, salt, pepper, ginger, and garlic with the yogurt.
  3. Add chicken and toss to coat.
  4. Marinate for at least 5 minutes or up to 4 hours.
  5. Place chicken in a single layer on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and broil on top rack of oven for 5-7 minutes on each side or until the surface starts to brown and char slightly. You can tell the chicken is fully cooked when the juices run clear.
  6. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon and/or fresh chopped cilantro if you happen to have some.

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