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Tandoori Chicken

My wife gets Cooks Illustrated, and the Jan/Feb 2009 issue had a lot of great recipes in it. We tried this one the other night and it was superb. The crew at America's Test Kitchen (that write this magazine) are great because they always take some dish they love and throw one (or more) of the normal recipe constraints out the window, causing them to rethink how to make the dish with one less, or different, constraint. For the Tandoori Chicken they threw out the notion that you have to marinade it overnight and cook it in a super hot (900 degree) oven.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 c plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 4 tbsp juice from 2 limes, plus 1 lime cut into wedges
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken parts (just cut up a chicken)

Instructions

  1. Skin the chicken parts and remove excess fat, then score (2 or 3 shallow cuts) each piece.

  2. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat until simmering. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add garam masala, cumin, and chili powder; continue to cook until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds longer. Transfer half of garlic spice mixture to medium bowl; stir in yogurt and 2 tablespoons lime juice and set aside.

  3. In large bowl combine remaining garlic-spice mixture, remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice, and salt. Gently massage this mixture into the meat until all pieces are evenly coated and then let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

  4. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Pour yogurt mixture over chicken and toss until chicken is evenly coated with thick layer. Arrange chicken pieces, scored side down, on wire rack set in foil lined, rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture.

  5. Bake chicken until instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 125 degrees (for breasts, or 130 for legs/thighs), 15 to 25 minutes. Remove smaller pieces sooner to a plate if you think they are close to done.

  6. Remove chicken from oven (again, its not completely cooked thru yet), turn the oven to broil and heat 10 minutes. Once broiler is heated, flip chicken pieces over and broil until chicken is lightly charred in spots and instant read thermometer registers 165, another 8 to 15 minutes.

  7. Transfer chicken to large plate, tent loosely with foil, and rest 5 minutes. Serve with chutney or relish, passing lime wedges separately.

  8. NOTE: We had white rice and roasted carrots as sides and it was excellent.

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