Recipe: Tandoori Chicken with Raita

By on July 8, 2012 in Recipes with 0 Comments

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
  1. 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.
  2. Transfer half of spice mixture to a smallish bowl and stir in yogurt and 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Set aside.
  3. Place remaining spice mixture in a large bowl and add salt and remaining 2 tablespoons of lime juice.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Bake 20-25 minutes, until meat temperature is 130 degrees. (I didn’t measure the temp, just left it in 25 minutes.)
  8. 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.)
  9. 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.)
  10. 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.

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