Tandoori Chicken

This version of tandoori chicken—intricately spiced, juicy, and tender—tastes even better if you allow the chicken to rest in the second, yogurt-based marinade overnight. To re-create the heat of a tandoor oven, we placed a baking stone in our conventional one and cranked it as high as it would go.

Tandoori Chicken
This version of tandoori chicken—intricately spiced, juicy, and tender—tastes even better if you allow the chicken to rest in the second, yogurt-based marinade overnight.
Yield: serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 4 skinless bone-in whole chicken legs
  • 3 skinless bone-in chicken breast halves, halved crosswise
  • 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 (3" piece) peeled ginger, coarsely chopped
  • Salt
  • 3 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 tbsp. distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. kashmiri red chile powder or paprika
  • 1 12 tsp. cardamom seeds
  • 1 12 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 12 tsp. ground bay leaf
  • 1 12 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 12 tsp. ground clove
  • 1 12 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 12 tsp. ground black salt (optional)
  • 6 green thai chiles, stemmed and finely chopped
  • Chat masala (optional)

Instructions

  1. Make 2"-wide slashes about 1⁄2" deep all over chicken pieces. Cut knee joints on legs halfway; transfer all the chicken to a large bowl.
  2. Purée garlic, ginger, and 1⁄4 cup water in a blender; add to chicken along with 2 tsp. salt, half the oil, vinegar, 1 tsp. chile powder, and half of each of the following: cardamom, garlic powder, bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, and ground ginger. Toss to coat; refrigerate overnight.
  3. Put yogurt, black salt, chiles, and all remaining oil, chile powder, cardamom, garlic powder, bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, ground ginger, and salt to taste into a bowl; mix. Pour yogurt mixture over chicken; massage into flesh for 2–3 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap; let marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.
  4. If using, place a baking stone on the middle oven rack; heat oven to 500° (or 550°, if possible). Line a baking sheet with foil; place a baking rack directly on top of the foil. Arrange chicken pieces (with any marinade that clings to them) on top of the rack in a single layer. Bake, rotating baking sheet once, until crisp, lightly charred, and cooked through, about 25 minutes for breasts and 35 minutes for legs. Sprinkle with chat masala, if you like. Serve hot.