Indian food is one of those cuisines that every dish is loaded with flavor. Being an avid foodie, you may be surprised to hear that I did not even try Indian food until I was in my 20s when my wife introduced me to it. Oh man was I missing out all of those years! One of my favorite Indian dishes is grilled tandoori chicken. After some trial and error to perfect this tasty dish, I’ve finally developed a recipe that I LOVE!
What is Tandoori Chicken?
Tandoori chicken is an Indian dish that is marinated in yogurt and many spices. It is then cooked in a tandoor. Since I am guessing that most of you do not have a tandoor, a grill (or even an oven) works just fine! Traditionally, the chicken is cooked over charcoal or wood, which I highly recommend as it gives the chicken immense flavor. Of course, a gas grill or oven will work fine but nothing can beat the smoky flavor of charcoal & wood.
How should I marinate the chicken?
The key to great tandoori chicken is in the marinade. When I said Indian food is flavorful and uses a lot of spices, I was not kidding. Here’s the list of ingredients:
- Greek Yogurt
- Lemon juice
- Cayenne (omit if heat is not your thing)
- Ground Cloves
- Garam Masala
Do you see what I mean? I’m pretty sure we just emptied your whole pantry. Not only are we going to use a lot of ingredients for the marinade, we are going to marinate it for a long time. I am talking 24-48 hours. Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl, add the chicken, and pop it in the refrigerator at least a day in advance of when you will be cooking. Pro tip: cut a few slits on the chicken before adding to the marinade. These slits will allow the marinade to penetrate deep into the chicken, giving it even more flavor.
How do I cook it?
My preferred method is using the vortex method with my Kamado Joe Big Joe 3. The vortex method is when you put the chicken in a circle on the outer end of the grill grates with the heat below being blocked except for the center where there is no chicken. This can be done using Kamado Joe’s SloRoller. I will post a picture below if this is tough to understand. I’ll preheat my grill to ~400ºF and cook the chicken until an internal temperature of 175ºF, flipping the chicken every 10 minutes. This should take about 40 minutes in total. If the chicken does not have enough grill marks to my liking, I’ll move it over direct heat for a few minutes. If you cannot recreate this vortex method to cook your chicken, just grill/roast until an internal temperature of 175ºF.
What should I serve it with?
I LOVE serving this dish with mango chutney, naan, and samosas. This is the perfect combination. Mango chutney is super easy and quick to make. All you need to make mango chutney is the following:
- Red Onion
- Brown Sugar
- Red Pepper Flakes
Just combine all of these ingredients in a medium sized saucepan, cover, and cook for 30-60 minutes (until thickened). The full recipe is below. While I do like to make my own naan and samosas (I will be sharing these recipes in the future), I do not always have time for this. Trader Joe’s has excellent naan and samosas that I cannot recommend enough.
This recipe is really good! In fact, it’s one of my favorite grilled chicken recipes. Flavorful and juicy (thanks to our 24-48 hour marinade), this dish does not disappoint. The leftovers are great and versatile as well. I’ve chopped up some leftover chicken and used it for wraps and gyros. Try this one out guys – you will certainly impress your friends & family. The combination of the tandoori chicken, mango chutney, naan, and samosas is the perfect Indian feast.
Grilled Tandoori Chicken with Mango Chutney
Tandoori Chicken Marinade
- 1-2 lbs Chicken thighs and/or legs
- 1.5 cups Greek Yogurt
- 1 Lemon juiced
- 1 head Garlic minced
- 4 tbsp Ginger minced
- 2 tbsp Paprika
- 2 tbsp Cumin
- 4 tsp Avocado Oil
- 4 tsp Salt
- 4 tsp Cayenne Pepper omit if you do not like spicy
- 4 tsp Coriander
- 3 tsp Garam Masala
- 2 tsp Turmeric
- 2 tsp Ground Cloves
- Black Pepper to taste
- 3 cups Mango diced
- 1/2 Red Onion minced
- 1/3 cup Raisins
- 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
- 4-6 Garlic Cloves minced
- 3 tbsp Ginger
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- Red Pepper Flakes to taste
- Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Cut 2-3 slits on the chicken pieces to help the marinade penetrate and give flavor. Add the chicken to the marinade. Put in the refrigerator for 24 hours and up to 48 hours max.
- Make the mango chutney ahead of time. Combine all of the chutney ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Cover and let cook for 30-60 minutes (stirring from time to time), or until thickened. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Set your grill up for the vortex method or indirect cooking and preheat to 400ºF. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator.
- Add the chicken to the grill and cook until an internal temperature of 175ºF, flipping every 10 minutes. This should take around 40 minutes. If preferred, add the chicken over direct heat at the end to get some grill marks.
- Serve immediately with the mango chutney, naan, and samosas.