A whole chicken is spatchcocked and smothered in a tenderizing yogurt-based marinade that’s infused with BIG flavors from fresh aromatics and flavorful warm spices. It’s then roasted in the oven to juicy and tender meat perfection with charred edges!
To Serve:Cilantro and Mint Sauce, roti or naan (Indian flatbreads), a simple salad, steamed rice, red onion slices, cucumber slices, lemon wedges for squeezing, chopped coriander (cilantro) and/or mint leaves
Make the ginger garlic chili paste: Roughly chop the garlic, ginger, and red chilies, Using a mortar and pestle, pound into a smooth paste. (Alternatively, use a blender to blend into a smooth paste).
Make the marinade: In a large mixing bowl, combine the Greek style yogurt, lemon juice, ginger garlic chili paste, kosher salt, garam masala, ground cumin, coriander powder, turmeric powder, ground cardamom, ground cayenne, dried fenugreek leaves, red-orange food coloring powder, and 1 tablespoon canola oil. Mix well until evenly combined, then set aside.
Spatchcock the chicken: Spatchcock (also known as butterfly) the chicken and remove all of the skin except for on the wings and wingtips. (Note: Refer to my Spicy Thai Roast Chicken post for step-by-step photos and instructions on how to spatchcock a chicken. You need to cut on either side of the spine using kitchen shears and remove it, then flip the chicken over and press down on the breast plate to flatten it. If your chicken came with any giblets, you can remove them and either save for another use or discard.) Use paper towels to pat-dry and clean the chicken well and remove any slimy or bloody bits from the inside cavity. Using a sharp knife, make a few deep slits on the breasts, thighs, and legs.
Marinate the chicken: Place the chicken breast side down in the marinade bowl and using your hands (wear disposable gloves), rub the marinade all over. Then flip the chicken over and rub the marinade all over the top part until fully coated. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and place in the fridge. Allow to marinate for 6-8 hours, or 24 hours for best flavor.
Prepare for roasting: Remove the chicken from the fridge 45 minutes before you’re ready to roast to take the chill off. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a large baking tray with aluminum foil and place a wire cooling rack on top. Lightly brush the rack with 1 teaspoon of olive oil (or spray with cooking spray). Place the chicken breast side up on the wire rack and tuck the wing tips underneath if you can. Pour 2 cups of water into the baking tray (to prevent dripping marinade from burning while the chicken cooks.)
Roast the chicken: Place the chicken in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, add 2 tablespoons canola oil to a small sauce pot and add any remaining marinade from the bowl. Simmer over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until darkened and slightly thickened. Remove the chicken from the oven at the 20 minute mark and baste with the thickened marinade using a silicone pastry brush. Return the chicken to the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken has cooked through. (Note: To check for doneness, insert a digital food thermometer into the inner thigh area close to the breast but not touching the bone. It should register 73°C/165°F. If you don’t own a digital thermometer, you can check if the chicken has cooked through by piercing the same area with a knife. The juices should run clear.)
Broil: Turn on the broiler and broil for 3-5 minutes, until the wings and meat has charred around the edges.
Rest: Transfer the baking tray to a cooking rack and allow the chicken to rest for 10-15 minutes.
To Serve: Arrange red onion slices, cucumber slices, and lemon wedges on a large serving platter. Place the chicken on the platter, either whole to carve at the table or cut into pieces. Garnish with chopped coriander and mint leaves and serve with Cilantro and Mint Sauce, roti or naan, a simple salad, and warm steamed rice.
Spice level. Adjust the spice elements (fresh red chilies and ground cayenne) to taste based on your heat level preference. This Tandoori chicken is medium spicy for me, but you might prefer to make it milder if you’re sensitive to spicy food or are dining with kids. Kashmiri red chili powder is milder than ground cayenne, and is available at Indian grocery stores.
Dried Fenugreek Leaves. Also known as Kasuri/Kasoori Methi. It’s sold in packets at Indian grocery stores, and is available online, at Walmart, and some large well-stocked supermarkets.
To make this gluten-free. No changes needed for the Tandoori chicken, but serve with gluten-free naan or roti.
To make this dairy-free. Use a dairy-free plain yogurt or Greek style yogurt.
Storing and reheating leftovers. Store cut pieces in a sealed airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or high for 1-2 minutes or until hot throughout.
Nutritional information provided is for the chicken, not for the Cilantro and Mint Sauce and other serving accompaniments.
Prep time does not include time for marinating the chicken.