It wasn’t until I moved to Santa Cruz, California that I had my first Tandoori. I was working for a dodgey Take-out Taxi at the time when I first encountered that spicy, heavenly protein.  Now, there were plenty of orders from the Ambrosia India Cafe each weekend but it was a A to B sort of delivery job. It wasn’t until I was brutally overworked and underpaid one weekend that I went off book. I was sitting there sweating in the Indian summer and starving with an order of Tandoori chicken, aloo gobi and naan. At my wits end I tore the bag open, turned off the CB and chowed down. That felt good.

Making the paste for this homemade tandoori chicken is no more difficult that standing in line at the grocery store. Some special tools that will make this go much quicker would be the CuisineArt unless you want to show your biceps off by using a mortar and pestle.

This recipe requires marinating for at least 6 hours which could work in your favor if you doing a dinner parlay.

Tandoori Ingredients

  • 2 free-range chicken breasts cut into about 1 inch cubes
  • 1 cup plain, low fat greek yogurt
  • 2 tbl. ginger-garlic paste. Generally used in every Indian household. I always just do a 1:1 for this paste. I keep some of this paste for stir-fry and Korean dishes.
  • 2 tsp. tamarind pulp. A key ingredient for my Tandoori. It adds a unique tang and sweetness.
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cayenne. This dish has just a little heat but needed since it is Tandoori.
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika to give it a BBQ clay pot taste.
  • 1 tsp achiote powder
  • 1/2 tsp. tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
  • A pinch of garam masala
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander seeds. Adds an unparalleled freshness to the paste.
  • 2 tbl fresh lemon juice. This adds more sour.
  • 1 tbl cool whip or whipping cream as a finisher.

Take everything except the chicken and cream and spin it down in the Cuisinart. We end up with a mixture of sweet, savory, bitter, and sour. All swirled up with those traditional Indian spices from the garam masala. Now since I don’t have a big clay pot and some hot coals at my disposal I am going to improvise. Will I get that traditional charred taste? No, but very close especially if you follow this easy method.

Preparing the Homemade Tandoori Chicken

  1. Put the chicken cubes into the paste / yogurt marinade for 5-6 hours.
  2. Thread the chicken pieces onto some metal skewers. Metal is key here. Rock on.
  3. Now turn on your broiler and place the skewers a few inches underneath the flame or element.
  4. Turn every 2 minutes for the next 10 minutes.
  5. Pull them and let rest for a couple minutes.

Walah. Serve with some thinly sliced white onion and lemon wedges. Another easy chicken recipe.


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