The big escape with Tandoori Chicken

Mallika Basu - The big escape with Tandoori Chicken

We had a long weekend here. And Notting Hill Carnival. Living with seven million people is so my thing. Sharing a weekend with most of them and tourists on rubbish-strewn West London streets totally isn't. We shoved a duvet, an aunt, one brother, chocolate and home-made Tandoori Chicken into the car and drove off to an idyllic Cambridge village to visit another brother. The BBQ was ready for my glistening red chicken portions. I stood in a cloud of dark smoke, basting them with a mix of lime juice and vegetable oil. While Harry the dog and the relatives took it in turns to pace around the BBQ. The resulting Tandoori Chicken was soft, juicy, full of flavour. Worth every smokey moment. And escaping London for. PS = To enjoy Tandoori Chicken properly I recommend using a tandoor or BBQ. You could grill it, but that wonderful charcoal smoked flavour will be MIA.


Skin the chicken, make two sideways slits – on the thigh and on the leg – and place in a rectangular dish.

Peel the ginger, garlic and whizz into a smooth paste with the whole seeds and half the yogurt in a food processor. Add the rest of the yogurt, the chilli powder, meat tenderiser, fenugreek, colouring and salt to the food processor bowl and mix well.

Check it for salt. You want this marinade to be overpowering in every way – salty, spicy, bitter – because the BBQ will soften the taste.

Now, smother the chicken leg portions with this marinade making sure every one of them is well coated. Then chill until you’re ready for the BBQ. I left it overnight but a few hours will be plenty.

When it’s on the tandoor or BBQ, mix the oil and lime juice together and baste the chicken portions twice during cooking. They will take a good half an hour to be ready, but make sure you open one up and check that the chicken juices run clear (not pink) before feeding people!

Tandoori chicken is perfect just on it’s own. But feel free to serve it with a lemony mixed salad and some hot naan.

25 responses to “The big escape with Tandoori Chicken”

  1. beth says:

    We love tandori in this house. Will have to give this recipe a go. I can smell it now!!!

  2. nags says:

    wow! you really seem to be grillin it up these days. nice ones 🙂

  3. notyet100 says:

    this looks soso nice,.perfect for singapore weather,,cause its rainin these days,..

  4. Wow, that looks great! What a great idea to do it on the grill. I don’t blame you for escaping London! 🙂

  5. sarah says:

    Yummy! made this sans food colouring tho’, as it makes my girls go hyper/mental…sure tastes nice, and looks fine.. thanks for sharing!

  6. rosie lovell says:

    yum! yeah i’ve got a pretty perfect picture of the carnival litter on my blog!
    back friday we must meet up for gaanapati indian PLEASE!!!

  7. I am delighted to hear that you are in olive magazine too. I have mislaid my copy which went to Shambala festival with me – and where, by the way, the litter louts were on the rampage. (And this a nice hippy festival too! You’d think they would know better). My youngest daughter loves tandoori chicken – I must try this. But I bet cooking them outside on a BBQ gives a smoky flavour that is more unobtainable indoors.

  8. That chicken has a wonderful color! It looks so tasty!

  9. Michelle says:

    Thank you for this and the last lamb one. I need this recipe – haven’t tried making tandoori yet.

  10. Basting with lime juice is genius! Thanks for the recipe.

  11. Mallika says:

    Namesake – that sounds and tastes absolutely delicious – let me at them!

  12. lee says:

    That chicken looks so succulent and tasty. Just looking at that picture is making my mouth water. And I’m vegan.

  13. Jamie Collins says:

    Do you really need to use meat tenderiser and colourings for your recipes??

  14. Mallika says:

    Thanks Lee, amd we converting you?

    Jamie – this made me giggle! Tandoori chicken is the only recipe of mine that uses food colouring. Because tandoori chicken that’s not day glo red is just not right!

    Have you ever tried meat tenderiser? The difference is quite unbelievable. By all means leave them both out. It’s the taste that counts after all…


  15. Pran says:

    Another recipe to save the day ….thanks lol

  16. Krupali says:

    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! Best tandoori chicken recipe EVER!!!!

    I’m so glad I came across your website. I made your ‘Prawn biryani in a hurry i.e. prawn pulao’ the other day; also masterful!

    Thank you so much! Will make my way through the rest of your recipes

  17. HARTMUT says:

    Recipe looks really good, I will do it without the meat tenderizer. I use meat tenderizer only on a bee sting.

  18. Thanks so much for this. This might sound weird, but I spent the first couple of years of my life in Rome, then travelled all over the world. Now I’m living in New Zealand, with my Chinese wife, and son we had whilst living inJapan! Truly international, eh? Anyway, I’ve been trying to rediscover the smells and tastes of my youth with some authentic Italian recipes like these, best I’ve found so far! Thanks again, I’ll see if I can add the feed to my google reader tonight, though my son usually does that for me!

  19. I asked my family for money so that I could buy a food processor, and they did! I think I even have some left over for a Star Wars apron!

  20. You have brought up a very superb points , appreciate it for the post.

  21. It remind me of the tandoori of calcutta. I love it.
    Thank you for the tips. Me and my wife and some of my friends enjoy the Tandoori here in abroad. Tips really rocking one.

    sell my house myself

  22. diana says:

    I love the presentation of this recipe. It looks like something I could do on the camp trails using a dutch oven. However, the recipe clearly shows what looks like pumpkins seeds as deco and yet fails to mention them and directions never explain using the same words as “A puff pastry sheet pk” that a beginner cook might not understand this is your dough. Regardless, it does look like something I would enjoy making and eating. Happy Trails.

    very good Cooking

  23. Those kebabs look delicious and perfect for the summer!

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