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Diwali Tandoori Chicken

  • Author: Kathy Gori


In all the times I’ve ever made tandoori chicken, this was the easiest since I wasn’t fiddling with charcoal, wood, and temperature changes. The tandoor oven is rock steady heat-wise, which is a BIG help in this sort of cooking. Tandoor Chicken, despite all the different spices found in the dish, is really very easy to prepare.


  • 1 medium-sized onion, peeled and chopped
  • 6 whole shallots or garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • A 2-inch long knob of ginger peeled and chopped
  • 3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 8 oz plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbs ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp ground mace
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp orange food coloring
  • Chicken (I used  3 large bone-in skin-on breasts, but of course this marinade is enough to cover 6 chicken legs and 3 breasts cut in half)


  1. Put the chopped onions, garlic or shallots, ginger, and lemon juice into a blender or food processor and blend to a smooth paste.
  2. Place the paste in a bowl large enough to hold the marinade and the chicken you are working with.
  3. Add in the yogurt, your spices (coriander, cumin, turmeric, garam masala, mace, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, salt, pepper, Kashmiri chili, food coloring) and stir it all together with a whisk.
  4. Now, remove the skin from your chicken breasts and cut each one in half.
  5. Slash the chicken breasts halfway down to the bone to let the marinade sink in.
  6. Put the chicken into the marinade and rub it in well, make sure you get the marinade into the slashes.
  7. Place the chicken into the marinade, cover it tightly, and place it into the fridge for 24 hours.
  8. If you are working with a tandoor oven, light it. When the tandoor is up to about 750 degrees you are ready to cook. For a regular BBQ, light it and get ready to grill.
  9. If cooking in a tandoor, oil your skewers, thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers. Stick half of a large peeled onion on the end of the skewers that ought to keep the chicken in place and prevent it from falling off the skewers.
  10. Place the skewers into the tandoor and angle them so that they’re leaning against one side of it. Partially cover the tandoor to keep the heat in and cook for 10 minutes, occasionally rotate the chicken skewers so that the chicken cooks on all sides.
  11. Check after 10 minutes, if it’s not cooked through give it a few more minutes. At this high heat, it doesn’t take too long before things are done.
  12. Lift the cooked chicken skewers out of the tandoor and slide the chicken off the skewers, garnish with chopped cilantro, pickled onions, and lemon wedges.