Tandoori Chicken

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I have a new delicious chicken recipe for you! The past few weeks in LA have been particularly warm, so Travis and I decided it was a great excuse to use the grill last Saturday night.

Tandoori Chicken Recipe

We made this delicious Tandoori Chicken that I adapted from an old Food and Wine issue. Recently, I’ve been making mostly slow cooker meals and stir frys with chicken, but for this meal I was craving that special charred flavor that only comes from the grill.

Tandoori Chicken Recipe

A heck of a lot of spices go onto this chicken, so make sure your spice cabinet is well-stocked.  Spices are one of my biggest tips to new cooks. I’ve spoken to lots of friends who decide not to make a dish just because they don’t have the spices OR they make the dish, leave the spices out, and then complain that it was nothing special. Well…..duh! A key component was missing!

Invest in a wide variety of spices, my friends! First of all, they last forever, so it is money well spent AND they make such a difference in the flavors of the dish. When I’m in my creative moods in the kitchen, I love opening up our spice cabinet, pulling out lots of different jars and sprinkling a little bit of this and that into my dish. It’s so fun and I love the way it makes my kitchen smell.

Tandoori Chicken Recipe

I chose to marinate the chicken for a few hours before we threw it on the grill just to ensure it was nice and juicy, but if you’re short on time this is optional.

Tandoori Chicken Recipe

I loved how crispy the skin got on the grill. The level of spice suited my taste buds, but if you prefer extra heat, try adding additional cayenne pepper.

I decided to make a mild side dish because I didn’t want anything to overpower the chicken. I made a less-sweet version of these glazed carrots by cutting the honey in half and adding some freshly grated ginger to pair with the ginger in the chicken.


Tandoori Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
  • ⅓ cup fat-free greek yogurt
  • 1.5 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 6 large chicken legs or 12 chicken drumsticks (about 4 lbs)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cilantro, chopped (for serving)
  1. Heat a small skillet over medium-low heat. Toast the seven spices (garam masala through cayenne) until they are fragrant, 3 minutes. Transfer the spices to a medium bowl to cool. Stir in the greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, ginger and canola oil.
  2. Using a serrated knife, make 3 slashes in each chicken leg (or drumstick). Place the chicken legs in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Then add the spiced yogurt mixture and rub it all over each chicken leg. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for 2 hours (optional, but this ensures more flavorful and moister chicken).
  3. Cooking on a charcoal grill: Heat a charcoal grill to medium heat. Cook the chicken over indirect heat for 20-25 minutes, flipping once halfway.
  4. Cooking in the oven: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and set a rack on a large baking sheet ( the rack ensures that the bottom of the chicken gets crispy as well). Arrange the chicken legs on the rack and roast for 30-35 minutes until the skin is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. For even crispier chicken, after it is cooked through, set the broiler to HIGH and place the chicken on the top tack. Roast for an additional 4 minutes until the skin is nicely crisp.


  • January 30, 2014 - 7:51 pm | Permalink

    This looks and sounds delicious! Chicken dishes are so perfect for the upcoming Super Bowl too!

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      January 31, 2014 - 9:29 am | Permalink

      Thanks so much! Yeah, I think this would be great as little drumsticks for the Super Bowl!

  • Selena @ thenutritiouskitchen.com
    February 8, 2014 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    Wow these look delicious! Love the addition of greek yogurt 🙂 Will have to try this chicken recipe soon!

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      February 10, 2014 - 2:24 pm | Permalink

      I hope you like this recipe, Selena! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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