Tandoori Chicken. Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post.
This recipe tastes as close as you can get to the flavor of original tandoori chickens - it comes from an impeccable source in restaurateur Monish Gujral, whose grandfather, Kundan Lal, is the alleged inventor of that classic Indian dish. 

Gujral says cooking at the hottest temperature your oven can muster (500 or even 600 degrees) is key. Remember to use a good kitchen fan, or to keep your windows open, because there will be smoke.

It's best to use metal skewers for this, or be sure to soak bamboo skewers for 30 minutes before using.
The tandoori chicken served at Gujral's Moti Mahal restaurant is made with a whole butterflied chicken, but Gujral recommends using pieces of boneless chicken the first few times you make the dish at home.

Tandoori Chicken  (Serves 4-6)

Kashmiri chile powder is bright-tasting and lends a beautiful colour to this dish; you can find it at Indian markets or substitute a blend of paprika and cayenne pepper.


680 g  boneless skinless chicken, cut into 4cm chunks (light and dark meat)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon Kashmiri chile powder (or substitute 1/2 teaspoon each paprika and cayenne pepper)
6 tablespoons plain, full-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon peeled, minced fresh ginger root
2 teaspoons garam masala, or more as needed
1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek, or more as needed
Vegetable oil, for basting


Use a sharp knife to make shallow cuts in the thickest part of the chicken.
Combine the lime juice and salt in a bowl large enough to hold all the chicken pieces; add the chicken and toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Uncover; add the chile powder, yogurt, garlic, ginger, garam masala and fenugreek, tossing well to coat and distribute evenly. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 260 degrees.
Thread the chicken pieces onto skewers, season with a little more garam masala or fenugreek, if desired. 
Roast (middle rack) for 5 to 6 minutes. Baste with a little oil and continue roasting for 3 to 4 minutes.
Check if the chicken is done by cutting into one of the larger pieces. If it is still pink in the middle, roast for another 3 to 5 minutes and check again.

Adapted from India restaurateur Monish Gujral.

The Washington Post