Baked tandoori chicken, the name of the recipe really does speak for itself! A traditional tandoori chicken is usually bone-in and made in a tandoor, my version uses boneless chicken breast and the broil setting on the oven for a similar experience.
As I was researching recipes for this post, I must have tried at least 6 or 7 different marinades in the last year before settling on a version and then tweaking it for months! I feel like this is one of the recipes that every family will have a different version of, and no one will ever agree on what’s “just right”. That being said, I do have a few tips that I think are must-dos for a really great baked tandoori chicken.
- Use the double marinade method. I don’t know the science behind it, but I know your chicken will be so much more flavourful if you do it. (explained in the recipe method).
- Make sure you add mustard oil to the second marinade. I recently debated this with a client that is a chef and happened to work at Taj Hotel. He doesn’t think you need mustard oil, and I think you do. Obviously you are doing to take my advice on this right? Jokes apart, the mustard oil makes all the spices sing, and you don’t want to miss out on that flavour punch.
- Toast and grind whole spices for your masala. This makes all the difference to how good the tandoori chicken tastes.
- Make sure you cover the chicken for the first 10 minutes of cooking or it will dry out.
Another consideration when making the baked tandoori chicken – you might want to double the batch so you have leftovers. This is the chicken you want to use for butter chicken. Just make a batch of my classic makhani sauce and drop in some day-old tandoori chicken and you’ll have the most comforting dish of all time.
Recipe: Baked Tandoori Chicken
*Note – I keep my tandoori chicken quite mild so that my kids will enjoy it, and so the leftovers will go well with a makhani sauce for butter chicken the next day. If you would like some heat to yours, please see the notes in the method about adding heat.
4 chicken breasts
First marinade ingredients
2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp salt
1 tbs lemon juice
Second marinade ingredients
1/2 tbs mustard oil
3/4 cup dahi/yogurt
Whole spices for roasting:
2 mace flowers/javitri
1 tsp black pepper/kali mirch
1/4 tbs cumin seeds/jeera
1/4 tbs black cumin seeds/shahi jeera
1/4 tsp fenugreek/methi seeds
6 green cardamom pods/hari elachi
1.5″ piece of cinnamon/dalchini
1/2 tbs coriander seeds/dhania
1 tbs paprika/deghi mirch
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
- Prepare the first marinade. Place the chicken in a bowl and add salt, ginger garlic paste, and lemon juice. Mix well and leave in the fridge for a minimum of one hour, and up to 8 hours. (*You can also add green chili paste here to up the heat factor)
- Roast all the whole spices listed under second marination on medium/low heat for 2-3 minutes, just until they release their aromas. Let them cool, then grind the spices into a powder and keep them aside for the second marinade.
- In a large bowl, add the in the ingredients for the second marinade; mustard oil, the roasted and ground spices from step 2, paprika, and salt. Mix well and add in the marinated chicken breasts. Let the second marinade sit for 2-4 hours. (*Add red chili to this marinade if desired)
- Put the chicken into the oven covered with foil at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 5 minutes. Then uncover, and switch to a high broil setting for an another 5-6 minutes, or until the chicken gets a toasted charred looked to the exterior. This method ensures a juicy piece of chicken and a smokey tandoori flavour.
This baked tandoori chicken pairs well with naan, in salads or wraps, and any leftovers are perfect for adding to my classic makhani sauce for a delicious butter chicken!