Tandoori Chicken naturally, is a favorite at home, and I prepare at least once a week. My oven baked juicy chicken tandoori recipe is full of flavors and a must make if you love Indian food.
Learn how to make easy oven baked Tandoori Chicken further below with my tips, step by step instructions and video.
There was a time when we made tandoori chicken every single day, 7 days a week every evening, in masses. For a few years we would prepare and sell the best tandoori chicken in North Goa.
In a few words, if you don’t know what tandoori chicken is, the meat marinates in a spicy yogurt tandoori paste for hours and is baked in the evening/night in special clay ovens and served with flat breads called nan.
Our tandoori chef had a hand for his tandoori oven cooking and would prepare nans, tikkas, kebabs and full tandoori chickens, yet he was also very fond of his alcohol…
Tandoori cooks in commercial places in India are artists through and through! To make dishes cooked in a tandoori oven is a skill, which not everybody can master due to the difficult conditions.
The continues heat coming from a tandoori oven, also known as tandoori bhati in Goa, is massive, way above 450 C (almost 900 Fahrenheit!). Tandoori cooks actually risk burns with the vertical, cylindrical, charcoal driven clay ovens. The marinated meat is poked through a heavy and longer metal skewer, and placed into the oven. For the nan bread to bake, it sticks to the tandoori wall. So, a Tandoori chef is non-stop in contact with heat, from 6 pm to 11 pm.
Because of the heat, many tandoori cooks tend to drink. Or so is the common notion among these trained cooks. In Goa, they have an easy and cheap supply of alcohol, which, unfortunately can nurture alcoholism without effort.
However, great tandoori cooks are high in demand and their pay is above average at all times. Nowadays most beach shacks in Goa and Indian restaurants try to incorporate somehow tandoori chicken and co. into their food menus. The ovens at the beach, are anything but clay ovens and the chef skills are often-while not up to the standard… So you end up with a lot of unsatisfying options.
The Tandoori chicken take away rules are simple: If you don’t see locals and tourist swarming around a take away, it might not be worth your money and time.
We closed our tandoori take-away some years ago because our tandoori chef died. We couldn’t find a replacement worth his skills…
So, getting around amazing chicken tandoori is a task and a quest. Because we were not satisfied with our tandoori take-away options around us, I got into making my own by using a regular home oven.
I still remember, fondly, our old tandoori days…
How to make baked Tandoori Chicken in the oven at home, without Tandoor oven? [Video+Tips]
There are simple rules to follow when making tandoori chicken:
- Use only small sized chicken/young chicken because the meat marinates & cooks better and faster. The chicken should come without skin.
- Create cuts so that the 1st and 2nd marinations get sucked in.
- Let the 1st marination (Lime, salt, turmeric, chili powder) work for minimum 1 hour. The longer the better of course.
- Let the second marination (Yogurt with spices) suck in 4 hours! (don’t reduce the marination time, your chicken won’t turn out well)
- Melt butter with chopped garlic. This is THE essential tandoori trick. because…
- …. the Tandoori chicken needs to be brushed/covered with butter and garlic to keep the meat moist and to maintain the irresistible flavor. Most tandoori take-aways don’t do that. The more often you do that while the chicken is baking the better it turns out. I recommend to cover the unbaked tandoori chicken before baking, 15 mins into the baking again and a small amount at the end before serving, with melted butter garlic.
- you can add red food coloring, you don’t have to. I don’t do that anymore, restaurant all add food coloring.
When baking in conventional oven, make sure to bake on high heat. For Indian convection ovens, I suggest to keep a baking+grilling setting, the baking setting alone in convection ovens turns the chicken pale.
Tandoori chicken needs to be crispy but well cooked through, and on top of that it needs to be juicy on the inside. The yogurt marination creates a special layer that makes a tandoori chicken so addictive.
Oven Baked Tandoori Chicken [Recipe]
- 5 smaller skinless Chicken Drumsticks (together 240 grams)
- Juice of 1 Lime
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- ½ Teaspoon Turmeric Powder (Curcuma/Haldi)
- ½ Teaspoon Chili Powder
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped Garlic
- 3-4 Tablespoon Butter
- 3 dollops Tablespoon Tandoori Paste
- fresh Coriander to garnish (Cilantro)
- First make some cuts into the skinless chicken drumsticks. The cuts are needed so that the marination flavors penetrate the chicken up to the bone. In a bowl combine the lime juice, salt, turmeric and chili powder to a smooth paste. Marinate the chicken drumsticks thoroughly with this first marination and let it stand for at least 1 hour (the longer the better!)
- In a bowl add the finely chopped Garlic and Butter and melt the content. Keep that aside. The butter will get infused with the flavor of the garlic in time, we will need it to slather the chicken with it before and while baking the meat.
- Then keep your 2nd marination, the tandoori paste ready. Add about 3 dollops tablespoons to the chicken and massage + cover the chicken drumsticks well with the yogurt marination. Then let stand for at least 4 hours! Resting time is necessary or the chicken won't taste that great.
- Before baking the chicken preheat the oven to 220 C/ 430 F. Then place your chicken drumsticks covered with the amazing flavorful marination into a baking dish and cover them with the garlic infused melted butter. I like to add some of the garlic pieces on the chicken too.
- Place the chicken into the oven and bake at 220 C/ 430 F. The total baking time is about 25-30 mins or until it's getting darker (picture as reference). However, after baking 15 mins. take out the chicken and cover with some more melted garlic butter and finish the baking process. Reserve 1-2 Tablespoon of garlic butter to pour over the chicken once it's finished baked. The garlic butter keeps the chicken moist and juicy.
- Serve hot with nan and a small onion capsicum cabbage beetroot salad. garnish with fresh coriander or cilantro.
More food ideas:
- Chicken Tikka
- Veg Soya Tikka
- Veg Skewers
- Baked Potatoes in foil + Creamy Garlic Dressing
- Golden Baked Chicken Drumsticks with coconut and chili
- Lemon Yogurt Dip
- Sweet and Sour Papaya Dip
- Limonana – Lemonade with Mint
- Fruit Skewers and Coconut Yogurt Dip
Dear Reader, what’s your favorite joint in your city for tandoori chicken?
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