March 13, 2015

Tandoori Inspired Spiced Chicken

Finding new ways to prepare chicken that are easy, different from the norm, and worth making again and again is an ongoing challenge. This is one of those dishes and I have been making with great success for over 20 years. It is fast and effortless to put together, great to make for a big crowd, and super delicious. I have never prepared this dish without at least one of my guests asking for the recipe.

You do not have to be a fan of spicy Indian food to like this dish either. The many spices used in the marinade create a mellow yet brightly flavored result that appeals to all palates. It might seems like too many ingredients to bother with at first glance, but do not let that deter you from preparing it. It is among my favorite and most dependable make ahead recipes and only requires about ten minutes of upfront time. Once the marinade is done, you can forget about it until its time to cook the chicken. It couldn't be easier and is a guaranteed to please your guests.

Serve the chicken with brown or white basmati rice, fresh seasonal vegetables, and a simple green salad.

Tandoori Inspired Spiced Chicken

Serves 6-8

For all ingredients, please consider using those that have been grown organically.


1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1  1-2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
8 ounces plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon garam marsala
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3-4 pounds

whole chicken breasts, boned, skinned, and halved or chicken tenders that can be skewered before cooking

A combination of bone-in chicken pieces will work quite beautifully as well.

  fresh cilantro
  fresh lime or lemon wedges
  fresh sliced onion
  fresh sliced cucumbers

In a food processor or a blender, combine the onions, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, yogurt, spices, olive oil, salt and pepper. Process or blend for about 30-45 seconds or until the mixture is the texture of a smoothie.

Use a knife to score the chicken pieces with 2-3 diagonal slashes across each half breast. If you are using chicken tenders, there is no need to score the meat. If you chose to use bone in pieces with the skin on, it is imperative that you score the pieces. Once the chicken pieces are scored, put them into a large stainless steel or glass bowl.

Cover the chicken pieces with the prepared marinade and use your hands to rub the marinade into the scored sections of the chicken. Be sure that all of the pieces are rubbed and submerged into the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Be sure to turn the chicken pieces a few times during the marinating period to ensure good flavor.

If you are using chicken tenders, soak wooden skewers in water overnight while the chicken in marinating. Just before cooking, gently skewer each tender to prepare for grilling.

The chicken is best cooked on the grill, but can also be done with a grill style pan on the stove or in the oven at a temperature of 425 F.

Heat the grill to high heat. The marinade tends to stick to the grill so I would suggest oiling the grill before use or cooking the chicken on a grill pan or non stick foil to prevent the chicken from sticking much.

Cook the chicken pieces for about 6-12 minutes on each side depending on the size of the breasts. If you are cooking chicken on the bone, it will take longer. Baste the chicken with the marinade while they are cooking.

Remove from the grill and serve with fresh lime or lemon wedges, fresh cilantro, and thinly sliced onions, and cucumbers.

This dish is delicious served cold the next day as a picnic item or chopped up into a salad.

Categories: Gluten Free, Poultry, Snacks, Nibbles & Finger Food

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