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Tandoori Chicken – Grilled Indian Chicken Recipe

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Tandoori chicken by The Curry Guy

This tandoori chicken is packed with flavour. We served it with a spicy chickpea salad and of course plenty of cold beer.

One of the things that is difficult about making Indian food daily and then blogging about it is that inevitably you come across recipes you want to make all the time.

Tandoori chicken is a family favourite and my recipe has changed very little over the years. This is the tandoori chicken recipe I use nowadays and as it is slightly different to the others on this site, I decided to share it here.

Red or natural… How do you want your tandoori chicken to look?

Those of you who have been reading my blog of a while will know there was a time when I didn’t use red food colouring in my cooking.

Even if it meant that the tandoori chicken didn’t look like it did when served at UK curry houses. There’s no flavour in that colouring so it really isn’t needed.

I’ve changed my mind however? I have enough vices that a little food colouring from time to time just isn’t too worrying.

You, however can very easily leave it out of the recipe if you feel differently. That’s one of the great things about making your own.

Whether you use the red food colouring your not, I think you are going to love this recipe.

Tandoori chicken is just as good on the BBQ.

I like to cook this on the barbecue or in my tandoor oven. This time I cooked the tandoori chicken on skewers and the results were fantastic.

I cooked the meat over lump wood charcoal. One of my favourite herbs is rosemary so I threw a few branches of rosemary on too which helped give the meat a spectacular flavour.

The yogurt I used for the marinade was hung in cheese cloth for about two hours so that any excess water drained out leaving me with a thick curd which was perfect for marinating the meat in.

I hope you get a chance to try this. It’s very nice with a cold beverage or more too.

Note: You only need to marinate the chicken for a couple of hours but for best results, aim for 48 hours. I did a taste experiment and believe me, there is no comparison. The longer you marinate the meat the better.

Tandoori chicken legs by The Curry Guy

Grilling doesn’t get much better than this.

Tandoori Chicken

Skewered and cooked until succulent inside and lightly charred on the outside

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Yield: 4 - 6

Barbecued Tandoori Chicken Legs

Barbecued Tandoori Chicken Legs
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 8 free range chicken legs including the thigh - skinned
  • 150ml thick hung Greek yogurt
  • Juice of two limes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon red food dye (optional) More or less to get the colour you like
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoons ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 2 green chillies pounded to a paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon citric acid


  1. Cut three to five shallow slits in each chicken piece.
  2. Place the chicken in a large bowl and squeeze the lime juice over the meat. Rub it into the meat along with the salt and red food colouring if using.
  3. Set aside while you made the marinade.
  4. Place the remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  5. Cover the chicken with the marinade and allow to marinate for at least two hours or up to 72 hours.
  6. When ready to grill, Skewer the chicken pieces.
  7. Heat a charcoal grill until very hot. When your hand becomes fiery hot when held above the coals at the same level as the skewers will be, you're ready to cook.
  8. Throw on a couple branches of rosemary. This isn't very Indian but it sure tastes good.
  9. Grill, turning regularly until the chicken is cooked through and the exterior is red and nicely blackened.

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Jennifer Toombs eating chicken

Family barbecue


If you try this tandoori chicken recipe, please don’t be a stranger. I’d love to hear from you so be sure to leave a comment. 

You might also like to try my whole roast tandoori chicken recipe.


Monday 5th of June 2017

Hi Dan What is the citric acid in this recipe?

Cheers Mel

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 7th of June 2017

Hi Mel

Citric acid is a souring agent. If you would rather using something natural, try dried mango powder (amchoor). Same quantity.

Thanks, Dan


Sunday 8th of November 2015

Hi Dan

I was wondering why did you not use your tandoori masala for this recipe? Is there an advantage over using this spice mix to your masala?

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 10th of November 2015

Hi Aysha

Thanks for your question. There is no reason at all. I was just using what I had on hand at the time. That and I like to vary my recipes. You could definitely use the tandoori masala with equally good results.


Ian Garside

Saturday 11th of July 2015

Not 100% with my bbq, find it to be too hot, killing the meat on outside but raw in middle, even bought wind shield to raise grill but still too hot. I need to find some way of blocking bottom vents to slow the air under grill.

Dan Toombs

Monday 13th of July 2015

Hi Ian

You may be using too many coals. The BBQ is made to use a lot less coal than other barbecues. Hope this helps.


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