While studying culinary arts at the CIA, one of the courses concentrated on international cuisines. We would spend a day or two exploring different cuisines for two weeks. On one of the days, we gathered outside and watched the chef make tandoori chicken in a clay oven. I remember biting into the chicken and being amazed at how delicious it was. Unfortunately, I don’t have a clay oven at home but in an effort to recreate the dish, I prepared my own grilled tandoori chicken. Pair it with saffron rice and spicy cauliflower with tomatoes for one outstanding meal!
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Tandoori chicken, unlike Indian curries and sauces, comes together quickly. Simply marinate the chicken overnight and cook the following day. Tandoori chicken typically uses skinless dark meat to produce juicy meat. I used drumsticks but you can also use thighs.
Tandoori chicken is typically a fiery red color from the paprika and chili spices used in the marinade. I decided to go easier on the chili and heavier on the turmeric for a milder version. I love spicy food but after trying this version at an Indian restaurant, I changed my ways.
When marinating the chicken, cut slits in the meat to allow the marinade to penetrate all the way. I kept the skin on my chicken but if you want to go the healthier more traditional way, remove before marinating.
Tandoor ovens have high heat, so to replicate the same heat source, a grill or broiler is the best option. Cover and cook the chicken for about 30 minutes or until juices run clear. It is important to leave the chicken be rather than constantly flip it during the 30 minutes. This allows the heat to stay trapped inside the grill and helps produce the juiciest meat.
I enjoyed this dish with a side of saffron rice and braised cauliflower with tomatoes and spinach. The grilled tandoori chicken was well seasoned, moist and had just the right amount of spice. If you want to go an extra step, serve with raita or mango chutney. De-licious!
Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.