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Oven baked tandoori chicken

Love Tandoori Chicken? This article shows you how to prepare oven baked tandoori chicken at home in just three simple steps. You will be pleasantly surprised that it is easier than you think.

Although Tandoori Chicken is Indian cuisine, it has become the perennial Malaysian favorite that has assimilated into the food culture of all Malaysian with diverse backgrounds. There are so many people hooked onto tandoori chicken once they tried it. The flavor is the magical symphony of spices interplay with each other that tantalizing all senses.

The tandoori chicken gets its name from the equipment used to cook the chicken, the tandoor. Tandoor is the cylinder shape oven made with clay or metal used to cook a variety of Indian food. 

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In this article, I will explain to you how to cook oven baked tandoori chicken at home, without the need to use the tandoor. You will find that it is easier than you think.   The tandoori chicken gets its name from the equipment used to cook the chicken, the tandoor. Tandoor is the cylinder shape oven made with clay or metal used to cook a variety of Indian food.

How to make tandoori chicken in the oven

I. Cut the chicken 

Cut the chicken into large chunks, bone-in and remove the skin.

Marinate the chicken by removing the skin is much more effective than with the skin on. With this method, the marinade can penetrate even to the deepest part of the chicken thigh. An excellent tandoori chicken should be flavorful with every bite, not just parts near the surface. Alternatively, lift the skin and make a few cuts at the thickest part for the flesh. Then, massage the marinade into the slit to ensure the flavor will penetrate down to the bone.

However, removing the skin means the heat from the oven will hit directly onto the meat. As a result, the meat will become dryer. While this is not an issue for thigh meat, it has a significant impact on breast meat. That is why we do not recommend using breast meat to prepare tandoori chicken. 

Besides removing the skin, make a few gashes at all the thick parts of the meat. The flavor of the marinade will be able to infuse into the meat better this way. 

For the same reason, you need to use your fingers to rub the marinade into the gashes and leave it for a few hours before roasting to achieve the best result. Then, if you have time, keep it in the refrigerator overnight and bake it the next day.

Tandoor
You do not need this ‘Tandoor’ to prepare your tandoori chicken in this recipe.

2. Marinate the chicken 

There are divided opinions on whether to marinate the chicken once or twice. 

  • One school of thought is to marinate the chicken with salt, garlic ginger paste, chili powder, and lime juice for a specific time then add chicken to the combination of the remaining herbs and spices subsequently. I do not fully understand the rationale behind, but I assume it may give a better taste eventually. 
  • The other school thinks that this is unnecessary. The assumption is based on as long as the marination is long enough, every part of the chicken should be well seasoned. 

Out of curiosity,, I carry out a simple test to find out if there is any difference between these methods before fixing up the recipe. The result shows that the flavor is identical.  Consclusion: definitely only marinate once to save time!

The ingredients

In summary, the preparation of the tandoori chicken is quite simple- marinate and bake! However, I want to elaborate on some specific components of the tandoori chicken marinades, so that you will have better control of the flavor should you want to adjust or to look for a substitute in case some ingredients are unavailable. 

Yogurt. 

Always use plain yogurt in this recipe. Avoid using flavored yogurt as it will alter the flavor provided by the herbs and spices. 

You can use the yogurt out of the box, but it may be too watery and dilute the flavor. A better way is to transfer the yogurt to a cloth bag and let the excess liquid drip off from the yogurt. Once there is no more liquid dripping off, add the thick yogurt to the chicken.

Yogurt also acts as a meat tenderizer due to its slight acidity. For the same reason, I also add some yogurt when I marinate the Ayam Goreng (Malaysian-style fried chicken).

Ginger garlic paste

Ginger garlic paste is one of the essential items in Indian cooking. The most basic preparation is to blend 100g of garlic and 100g of ginger with a tablespoon of cooking oil. The ginger-garlic paste stores well if refrigerated. You may make a batch and keep the remainder for future use. If you are not cooking Indian food very often, cut the amount by half. Alternative, you can purchase the ready-made ginger garlic paste.

You can use finely chopped (better grind with mortar and paste) garlic and ginger instead of the ginger and garlic paste. In my opinion, ginger garlic paste is a better choice because it has been blended finely, which means that it is better for marination.

Chili powder

Try to get the Kashmiri chili powder. This type of chili powder has a bright red color. If you add a sufficient amount to the marinade, the mixture will have the familiar tandoori color without the need to add a coloring agent. 

The color of chili powder will change over time. If you notice the color of your chili powder is no longer has a vibrant red color, and looks slightly dull and brownish, discard it and get the new one.

If you are not using Kashmiri chili powder, or reduce the amount to make it less spicy, then you can add a small amount of artificial coloring. I normally do not take very spicy food, so I use a bit less chili powder and enhance the color with some red color dye. (Note: if you are averse to using artificial coloring agents, please ignore it.)

Lime juice 

Use the small lime (Kasturi lime). An alternative is to substitute it with lemon juice. 

Garam Masala 

Garam Masala is a spice mix widely used in Indian cuisine. It is equivalent to the five-spice powder for Chinese cooking, but the combination is different. It is available in most Asian grocery shops. Here is a simple recipe if you want to make it at home. (I purchase from the store for simplicity). 

Besides garam masala, other common spices for tandoori chicken are cumin and coriander.

Ingredients :
2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp cardamom
I tbsp black pepper
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
Method :
Blend all the spices into a fine powder

Mustard oil 

Mustard oil has a slightly spicy taste. In my opinion, since the amount of mustard oil required is small, you can use any cooking oil with neutral flavor as a substitute. 

In this article, I will explain to you how to cook oven baked tandoori chicken at home, without the need to use the tandoor. You will find that it is easier than you think.   The tandoori chicken gets its name from the equipment used to cook the chicken, the tandoor. Tandoor is the cylinder shape oven made with clay or metal used to cook a variety of Indian food.

3. Bake the tandoori chicken in the oven 

As I mentioned earlier, tandoori chicken made with an electric oven is ideal because it is available in every kitchen. The result is nearly identical to those with the traditional tandoor, albeit lack the smoky charcoal flavor. 

Since the design of every oven is different, the suggested oven setting in this tandoori chicken recipe is only served as a guideline. The best way is to start with the recommended temperature and duration and keep a close eye on the appearance when you bake it the first time. 

Here are the steps:

  • Remove the marinated chicken from the fridge at least thirty minutes before baking. The flesh near the bone will not cook through if you bake the chicken directly from the refrigerator.
  • Place a piece of baking paper or aluminum foil on a baking tray, brush a thin layer of oil on it. Alternatively, you can also line the tray with baking paper, which is more environmentally friendly.
  • Arrange the marinated chicken pieces on the tray. 
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/390°F. (The exact tandoori chicken oven setting depends on the model of the oven.) Bake the tandoori chicken in the oven for fifteen minutes.
  • Remove the tray from the oven. Brush some melted butter on the chicken, turn over the chicken and continue baking for another thirty minutes or until the edges turn slightly charred. 
  • Remove and serve.

Note: You can place the chicken on a wire rack after the initial baking for fifteen minutes. This is especially useful if the oven is not hot enough and cannot create some light charred marks on the chicken. In this case, place the chicken on the wire rack and place it close to the top heating element. Broil the chicken until you get the desired color.

This oven baked tandoori chicken can be served as a side dish, or together with biryani rice, roti, or naan. The leftover is ideal to turn into butter chicken. You can refer to our butter chicken recipe on this blog.

The oven-baked tandoori chicken recipe

Yield: 8 drumsticks

Chicken Tandoori in oven

Tandoori chicken recipe

In this recipe, I will explain to you how to cook tandoori chicken with the electric oven, which is the standard kitchen equipment in most of the modern kitchen.

You will find that it is easier than you think.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1kg Chicken thigh

Marinade:

Others ;

  • Butter for busting
  • 1/2 cup onion rings
  • Cucumber
  • Coriander leaves
  • Chaat masala powder

Instructions

  1. Cut the chicken into large chunks, bone-in, remove the skin. 
  2. Make a few gashes at the thick part of the meat. 
  3. Put the yogurt into a cloth bag, and let the liquid drip off until it stops. 
  4. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade, combine with the chicken chunks. 
  5. Marinate for at least three hours. 
  6. Preheat the oven to 200°C/390°F. 
  7. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil. Arrange the chicken on the tray. 
  8. Bake the chicken for fifteen minutes. 
  9. Brush some melted butter on the chicken. 
  10. Tun over the chicken and continue baking for another twenty minutes or until the edges turn slightly charred. 
  11. Remove and serve. 

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

per drumstick

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 375Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 164mgSodium: 931mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 30g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 11/6/2019

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Smitha

Tuesday 11th of August 2020

Hi Kwan,

Should both the top & bottom rods be turned on while baking?

KP Kwan

Wednesday 12th of August 2020

Hi Smitha, I turn on both top and bottom heat while baking it. KP Kwan

Bernadette Kueh

Friday 31st of July 2020

Thanks, Kwan. So chaat masala is optional? If it is used, how much to add?

KP Kwan

Saturday 1st of August 2020

Hi Bernadette, Chaat masala is optional. I would add 2 teaspoons of it to one chicken. KP Kwam

Bernadette Kueh Kueh

Sunday 26th of July 2020

Hi Kwan, this recipe looks delicious. I want to try it. 1. I saw some ingredients e.g. Chaat Masala under the Others section. Are they for garnishing? The recipe doesn't mention how to use them. 2. Can I fry mustard seeds in some oil to make the mustard oil?

Thank you

KP Kwan

Monday 27th of July 2020

Hi Bernadette, 1. Chaat masala is a type of powder made with salt, dry mango, pomegranate seed, etc. It is salty and slightly sour. It is not for garnish as there is not much color (light brown). The primary purpose is to provide flavor. Some tandoori recipes use it to enhance the flavor. 2. I never make mustard seed oil before. I suggest you substitute it with corn oil or canola oil. KP Kwan

MH

Monday 29th of June 2020

How long do I cook my marinated boneless chicken tighmeat for . Should I cover it in foil in an oven dish ?

KP Kwan

Tuesday 30th of June 2020

Hi MH, Please bake the chicken until the chicken thigh is slightly charred at the edges. (The duration depends on the doneness and change of color). There is no need to cover it with aluminum foil. KP Kwan

Shirley

Thursday 18th of June 2020

Trying out now TQ for sharing!

KP Kwan

Friday 19th of June 2020

All the best and I wish you will enjoy it.

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