Grilled Tandoori Chicken with Indian-Style Rice

Grilled Tandoori Chicken with Indian-Style Rice

Prep Time Prep: 16h Cook Time Cook: 45m Total Time Total: 16h45m

Yield: 6-8 servings

thewoksoflife.com

Chicken and Poultry

a culinary genealogyTandoori Chicken is a popular Indian dish but many versions are bland and dry. Our grilled Tandoori chicken recipe comes out juicy and exploding with flavor!

  • 3 ounces plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 2½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground Indian red pepper (you can use cayenne or even Korean red chili powder in a pinch)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds or coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground cumin seed (or powder)
  • ¾ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1½ teaspoons garam masala
  • 6 chicken leg quarters, cut into drumsticks and thighs
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • Cilantro for garnish (you can also use parsley)
  • 3 cups dry basmati rice
  • 3 tablespoons oil, butter, or ghee
  • 3 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 teaspoons salt or salt to taste
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  1. Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.
  2. Use a sharp knife to cut slits into the chicken pieces; this will allow the marinade to really get into the chicken. 3 slits per drumstick and 4 to 5 per thigh should do the trick.
  3. Usually, Tandoori Chicken calls for the skin to be removed, but I left it on because you want that crispy chicken skin (obviously). You can decide for yourself, but be aware that skin-on chicken is more prone to flare-ups when grilling. You’ll have to watch the chicken more closely while it’s on the grill and flip the pieces more often to avoid hot spots--all reasonable trade-offs for some extra flavor!
  4. Place the chicken in a large dish. Spread the marinade all over the chicken and let marinate at least 12 hours, but not more than 2 days. We marinated our chicken for 16 hours, and even more marinating time wouldn’t have hurt!
  5. Be sure to take the chicken out of the refrigerator 3 to 4 hours prior to grilling, so the chicken can come to room temperature--kind of like how you never want to grill a cold steak. This is an important step since there will be marinade on the chicken, and it will burn if the chicken is left too long on the grill because its internal temperature is too low.
  6. This is a good time to make your Indian-style jeera rice. We’ve measured out enough rice here to take down all of the chicken, but feel free to make more or less. Wash the rice thoroughly and drain into your cooking vessel. Cover with water and allow to soak for 20 minutes.
  7. While that’s happening, heat your oil/butter/ghee in a saucepan. When it’s melted, add the cumin seeds, cloves, and cinnamon stick. Let the spices infuse the oil for 2-3 minutes. After the rice has finished soaking, drain it thoroughly and add it to the spice mixture. Sauté the rice in the pan for about 2 minutes, and transfer to a rice cooker. Add the salt and water (according to your rice cooker directions), and press Start. If you’re not using a rice cooker, use our directions for perfect stovetop rice.
  8. Now it's time to cook the chicken. Start your grill, and keep it covered until it reaches 500 degrees.
  9. Shake off the excess marinade before placing the chicken on the hot grill. Cook with the grill covered, but stay close to watch for excess smoke, a sure indicator that your chicken is charring!
  10. Turn the chicken as often as needed to prevent burning and keep the grill cover on so the chicken cooks through quickly. Our chicken took about 45 minutes, and we did have to turn and move the chicken pieces often.
  11. The chicken is done when the juices run clear when poked or, better yet, use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature near the bone. The optimal temperature for chicken is 165 degrees F.
  12. For the rice, during the last 2-3 minutes of cooking time, add the frozen peas and stir thoroughly. Let the rice reheat. Serve the chicken with the rice, sliced fresh cucumbers, sliced red onion, and cilantro.

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 2½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground Indian red pepper (you can use cayenne or even Korean red chili powder in a pinch)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds or coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground cumin seed (or powder)
  • ¾ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1½ teaspoons garam masala
  • 6 chicken leg quarters, cut into drumsticks and thighs
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • Cilantro for garnish (you can also use parsley)
  • 3 cups dry basmati rice
  • 3 tablespoons oil, butter, or ghee
  • 3 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 teaspoons salt or salt to taste
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Instructions

  1. Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.
  2. Use a sharp knife to cut slits into the chicken pieces; this will allow the marinade to really get into the chicken. 3 slits per drumstick and 4 to 5 per thigh should do the trick.
  3. Usually, Tandoori Chicken calls for the skin to be removed, but I left it on because you want that crispy chicken skin (obviously). You can decide for yourself, but be aware that skin-on chicken is more prone to flare-ups when grilling. You’ll have to watch the chicken more closely while it’s on the grill and flip the pieces more often to avoid hot spots--all reasonable trade-offs for some extra flavor!
  4. Place the chicken in a large dish. Spread the marinade all over the chicken and let marinate at least 12 hours, but not more than 2 days. We marinated our chicken for 16 hours, and even more marinating time wouldn’t have hurt!
  5. Be sure to take the chicken out of the refrigerator 3 to 4 hours prior to grilling, so the chicken can come to room temperature--kind of like how you never want to grill a cold steak. This is an important step since there will be marinade on the chicken, and it will burn if the chicken is left too long on the grill because its internal temperature is too low.
  6. This is a good time to make your Indian-style jeera rice. We’ve measured out enough rice here to take down all of the chicken, but feel free to make more or less. Wash the rice thoroughly and drain into your cooking vessel. Cover with water and allow to soak for 20 minutes.
  7. While that’s happening, heat your oil/butter/ghee in a saucepan. When it’s melted, add the cumin seeds, cloves, and cinnamon stick. Let the spices infuse the oil for 2-3 minutes. After the rice has finished soaking, drain it thoroughly and add it to the spice mixture. Sauté the rice in the pan for about 2 minutes, and transfer to a rice cooker. Add the salt and water (according to your rice cooker directions), and press Start. If you’re not using a rice cooker, use our directions for perfect stovetop rice.
  8. Now it's time to cook the chicken. Start your grill, and keep it covered until it reaches 500 degrees.
  9. Shake off the excess marinade before placing the chicken on the hot grill. Cook with the grill covered, but stay close to watch for excess smoke, a sure indicator that your chicken is charring!
  10. Turn the chicken as often as needed to prevent burning and keep the grill cover on so the chicken cooks through quickly. Our chicken took about 45 minutes, and we did have to turn and move the chicken pieces often.
  11. The chicken is done when the juices run clear when poked or, better yet, use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature near the bone. The optimal temperature for chicken is 165 degrees F.
  12. For the rice, during the last 2-3 minutes of cooking time, add the frozen peas and stir thoroughly. Let the rice reheat. Serve the chicken with the rice, sliced fresh cucumbers, sliced red onion, and cilantro.