Grilled tandoori-style chicken with yogurt sauce recipe


Tandoori chicken achieves its hallmark charred, crispy skin and juicy, flavorful meat from a combination of a three-day marinade and a superheated tandoori oven. We wanted to develop a grilled chicken dish inspired by this Indian classic. First we focused on the marinade; we chose a variety of traditional Indian spices and added oil to bloom them, as well as a good amount of salt so that the marinade would have the effect of a brine, guaranteeing juicy meat. For the grilling method, we spread the coals over just half of the grill to create both a hotter and a cooler zone; this allowed us to cook the chicken gently on the cooler side before transferring it to the hot side to sear and char the skin. To reinforce the flavors of the marinade, we created a quick yogurt sauce, mixing in a few tablespoons of marinade and adding fresh cilantro and lime juice.

  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes


  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 4 (10-to 12-ounce) bone-in split chicken breasts, trimmed and halved crosswise
How to Make It
  1. Process oil, water, ginger, coriander, cumin, salt, turmeric, cinnamon, and cayenne in food processor until smooth, about 20 seconds. In small bowl, combine yogurt, cilantro, lime juice, and 2 tablespoons oil-spice mixture; set aside.
  2. Combine chicken and remaining oil-spice mixture in large bowl, tossing to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. For a Charcoal Grill
  4. Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
  5. For a Gas Grill
  6. Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Turn primary burner to medium-high and turn off other burner(s).
  7. Clean and oil cooking grate. Place chicken skin side down on cooler side of grill with thicker ends of breasts facing hotter side of grill. Cook, covered, until chicken registers 145 to 150 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes. Slide chicken to hotter side of grill and cook, turning as needed, until chicken is browned and registers 160 degrees, about 10 minutes.
  8. Transfer chicken to serving platter. Stir yogurt-marinade mixture to recombine, then drizzle over chicken. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve.

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