Yes you heard that right- we made tandoori chicken and we didn’t need an actual tandoor for that, we used our trusty oven and it was still as delicious. Of course we could do better with some of the char from the tandoor or a grill but for now, char from the oven it is.
So, as always last weekend we were craving some good Indian food- tandoori chicken to be more specific. So we spent the whole weekend preparing to make the tandoori chicken- note that we didn’t actually eat the chicken on the weekend and you’ll know why in a bit. Yes, we outdid ourselves this time. Outdid? Really? No. We just decided to go all out and made the most moist, flavourful and amazing Tandoori Chicken ever!
Here is what we did:
- Got some chicken legs
- Brined the chicken for 24 hours
- Prepared the tandoori masala
- Made the marinade
- Marinated the chicken for 24 hours
You could totally skip the brining step and jump straight into marinating the chicken but of late, we love brining our chicken since it adds so much flavor and keeps it moist.
And wait did I tell you, we didn’t use any artificial food color? We added just a little bit of grated beetroot in the marinade and heaps of paprika in the tandoori masala and voila!
We also made the Tandoori Masala from scratch and it was totally worth it but you could of course use store bought tandoori masala. You’ll find our homemade recipe here.
Without further delay, we’ll get right into it. So all you Fiesta Friday friends and of course others, hope you enjoy this one!
Here is how we made Tandoori Chicken in the oven:
- 7-8 chicken legs
- 8 cups water
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4-6 whole black peppercorns
- 2-3 whole allspice, coarsely ground
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, coarsely ground
- ½ cup sour cream (or Greek yoghurt), see notes below for other substitutes
- ½ inch piece beetroot, grated (this is only for the color and will add no flavor)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 7- 8 tablespoons tandoori masala (we used our homemade tandoori masala ) but you may use a store bought)
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (or regular canola or vegetable oil)
- juice of half a lemon
- Salt to taste (start with a teaspoon and add more as required)
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 2 tablespoons tandoori masala
- Boil the water together with the salt, garlic, peppercorns, allspice and coriander. This is your brine- ready!
- Allow the brine to cool down completely and in a separate large bowl add the chicken and pour the cooled brine over it. Seal the bowl properly with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or even overnight). We did this for 24 hours.
- To prepare the chicken for marination, take out the chicken from the brine and wash it under cold water to get rid of the excess salt.
- After washing the chicken from the brine, pat it dry and gently make 2-3 slits on each side of the chicken leg. And set this aside.
- Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Add the chicken pieces to the marinade and marinate for at least 4 hours but ideally overnight in the refrigerator. Again, we marinated this for 24 hours.
- Mix all the basting liquid ingredients together and set this aside.
- When you are ready to make the tandoori chicken, take out the chicken from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature, at least 20 minutes prior to popping it in the oven.
- In the meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 F.
- Lay aluminum foil over a large sheet pan/ baking tray and brush the foil with oil.
- Once the marinated chicken is at room temperature, arrange the chicken in a single layer and bake for about 20 minutes.
- Then turn the chicken and cook on the other side for another 14-16 minutes or until fully cooked.
- Then take out the sheet pan from the oven and set your broiler on high.
- Baste the chicken with the basting liquid and put your sheet pan under the broiler for 2 minutes on each side. Keep an eye on this as you don’t want your chicken to burn.
- Once it’s done your tandoori chicken is ready to serve! Who said we needed a tandoor to make tandoori chicken?
- Serve with mint-cilantro chutney and some sliced up onions!
1. You can skip the brining step and directly marinade the chicken.
2. Cooking time should be altered (i.e. reduced) if you are using any other cut of chicken such as a breast or a thigh piece.
3. For the marinade, you could use regular yoghurt too but we would suggest you hang the yoghurt in a muslin cloth to get rid of the excess water. It’s better to marinade the chicken in a thick yoghurt with lower water content and sour cream or Greek yoghurt work best.