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Smoky Tandoori Chicken

Toss spices into yoghurt, slather it over chicken thighs and let the magic begin!

November 20, 2017

Smoky Tandoori Chicken

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Tandoori chicken

to serve six
tandoori marinade
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cardamom
3 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground turmeric
1½ tsp garam masala
3Tbsp natural yoghurt
1½ tsp salt
1Tbsp lemon juice
900gm boneless skinless
chicken thighs
1½Tbsp vegetable oil
chunky raita
200gm continental cucumber
250gm cherry tomatoes
20gm fresh mint
15gm chives
½tsp ground cumin
good pinch salt flakes
1 cup plain or greek yoghurt
to serve
chosen salad /vegetable accompaniment
steamed basmati or brown rice


  1. Make tandoori marinade. Mix spices with yoghurt, lemon juice and salt in large bowl.
  2. Slash chicken thighs with shallow cuts, to allow marinade to penetrate. Toss through spice mix to thoroughly coat. Refrigerate for up to 8 hours. See notes.
  3. Pre-heat BBQ to medium high heat.
  4. Remove excess marinade if any and toss thighs in bowl with vegetable oil.
  5. Place chicken on BBQ to grill for around 2 to 4 minutes on first side, depending on thickness of thighs and temperature of BBQ.
  6. Turn heat to medium, turn thighs over and continue to cook for a further 2 to 4 minutes, until cooked through, springy to the touch and charred to create a smoky flavour.
  7. Rest covered with foil for 5 minutes minimum.
  8. While chicken is cooking, make chunky raita. Cut cucumber in half and remove seeds using a teaspoon. Cut flesh into 1½cm dice. Cut cherry tomatoes in half (or quarters). Remove leaves from mint stalks and chop. Finely chop chives. Place yoghurt in large bowl. Stir through cucumber, tomatoes, mint and chives with cumin and salt. Salt will balance out sour flavours in yoghurt.
  9. To serve, cut chicken into 1cm thick slices (or serve whole) and place in piles next to chosen accompaniment. Serve with steamed basmati or brown rice and chunky raita.

cooks notes

  • If chicken thighs are really large, grill to char and then place on baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and roast in oven for 10 minutes or so to complete cooking.
  • Replace chicken thighs with drumsticks or try 2 x 500gm of lamb rump. Both will need to be cooked for 35 to 40 minutes in oven; drumsticks can be served whole and lamb cut into  slices.
  • The longer meat is marinated for, the tastier it will be as it allows the flavours to penetrate rather than simply sit on the surface. If meat marinated for less than 8 hours, cook in oven with marinade left on. If marinade removed after a short time, there will be no flavour left in the chicken! If marinade left on and placed on the BBQ, it will make a huge mess and burn before the chicken is cooked. This is not a last minute recipe so resist only marinating for a short time to avoid disappointment!
  • Tandoori chicken is traditionally cooked in a wood fired tandoori oven which produces the smoky flavour. The char grill or open flamed BBQ with lid will create a similar effect.
  • Use super-fresh spices to result in a fabulous tandoori flavour. Spices in your pantry purchased in the 90’s or earlier may need replacing! If they have no aroma, they will have little or no flavour.
  • Serve chicken and raita with steamed rice (brown or basmati are good) or cauliflower rice if wanting a low carb version.

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Meet the team

Tracey Cotterell

Tracey Cotterell
Tracey Cotterell


Tracey has been in the food industry since completing her Diploma in Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management in 1982 in the UK. She worked for an outside catering company in London, then joined her parents in rural West Sussex running

View Tracey’s full profile.

Tracey Cotterell

Tracey Cotterell


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