Tandoori Chicken is typically cooked in a tandoor clay oven from whence it gets its name. This recipe from Cook’s Illustrated uses the oven to bake the meat at a low temp and then finish it off under the broiler to brown and crisp the skin.
Usually, tandoori chicken recipes call for marinating the chicken for an extended period in a yogurt mixture, but Cook’s Illustrated recommends just a dip in the yogurt.. Too long a period in the yogurt and Cook’s Illustrated’s taste testers found the texture of the meat to be mushy. This is a result of the acid in the yogurt breaking down the protein in the meat. Marinating in yogurt can produce a more tender chicken, but it can also produce meat that has an unappealing quality.
Tandoori Chicken with Raita
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 garlic cloves, minced (2 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons grated or minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 cup whole-milk yogurt
- 4 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 teaspoons table salt
- 2-3 pounds chicken drumsticks
- Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat and add garlic and ginger. Cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Add garam masala, cumin, and chili powder and cook for 1 more minute to let the flavors meld.
- Transfer half of spice mixture to a smallish bowl and stir in yogurt and 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Set aside.
- Place remaining spice mixture in a large bowl and add salt and remaining 2 tablespoons of lime juice.
- Lightly score the skin of the chicken using a knife, making slits that are inch apart and about 1/8 inch deep. Massage the spice mixture into the chicken using hands and let chicken stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Adjust oven rack so it is 6 inches from heating element and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pour yogurt mixture over chicken and toss to coat.
- Remove chicken from yogurt mixture and place on a rack set in a baking sheet or broiler pan with the scored-skin side down. Line the sheet or pan with foil prior to doing this . Discard yogurt mixture.
- Bake 20-25 minutes, until meat temperature is 130 degrees. (I didn’t measure the temp, just left it in 25 minutes.)
- Remove chicken from oven and turn broiler on. Let heat for 10 minutes before returning chicken to oven. (I am impatient so I returned he chicken after about 5 minutes.)
- Flip chicken so it is skin side up and return to oven. Broil for 8 to 15 minutes, until temperature is 175 degrees. If chicken starts to brown too rapidly and you still feel it needs longer to cook, I would turn the broiler off and turn the baking temp to 375 or 400 and continue to cook until done. (This is actually what I had to do because I don’t know how you can leave food 6 inches from a broiler for 8-15 minutes without setting off the fire alarm.)
- Transfer chicken to plate and tent loosely with foil for 5 minutes.
- 1 cup whole milk yogurt
- handful of chopped cilantro
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- salt to taste
- 1/4 cup finely chopped cucumber
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
- sprinkling of red pepper
Mix all ingredients together.