Cast Iron

Tandoori Coconut Chicken

October 21, 2015
3 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This tandoori chicken is made with coconut milk, so it is perfect for those who keep kosher or can't eat dairy—and it's so good! Allow time to marinate the chicken for 8 to 12 hours or overnight. —tw

What You'll Need
  • For the marinade and chicken:
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • two 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk
  • one piece 3-inch by 1-inch fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 4 pounds bone-in, skinless chicken thighs
  • For the spice paste:
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds (from about 12 to 15 pods)
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 3 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons annatto powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 fresh lemons, zest and juice reserved
  • 1 cup coconut oil, warm and melted
  • 1 red onion, sliced for garnish (optional)
  • 2 lemons, washed and thinly sliced for garnish (optional
  1. Marinate the chicken: Combine the vinegar, coconut milk, ginger, and garlic in a large mixing bowl and whisk well to combine. Add the chicken, turn to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours or overnight. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator about 15 to 10 minutes before cooking.
  2. Make the spice paste: Heat a cast-iron pan or heavy skillet over high heat until hot. Add the whole spices—the cumin, cardamom, cloves, and coriander—to the pan and swirl the spices around for 30 seconds, until they are fragrant. Transfer the warmed spices to a grinder, add the bay leaves, black pepper, and salt, and grind until powdery. Place the spice mixture into a small mixing bowl. Add the paprika, annatto, turmeric, cinnamon, lemon juice and zest, and the melted coconut oil and mix to combine into a paste.
  3. Preheat oven to 385°F. Spray two broiling pans with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Place the broiling pans in the oven.
  4. Remove the chicken from the marinade, pat dry with paper towels and place on a rimmed baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Discard the marinade and do not reuse in any manner. Allow to the chicken come to room temperature while the pans get very hot, about 5 to 7 minutes. The chill needs to be off the chicken so the paste won’t clump, but you don’t want it sit out too long, as it’s a safety concern. Remove the plastic wrap and rub the paste liberally all over the chicken. Let stand while the pans get hot.
  5. Place the chicken on the broiling pans and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 165°F and the juices run clear when a paring knife is inserted into the thickest part (the roasting time will depend upon the size of the chicken thighs). Garnish with sliced red onion and lemon slices and serve hot with rice.

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1 Review

Kestrel February 6, 2021
Any reason the chicken couldn’t be cooked on a grill instead?