Grilled Tandoori Chicken with Indian-Style Rice

Tandoori 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!

Grilled Tandoori Chicken with Indian-Style Rice

For the marinade:
  1. 3 ounces plain Greek yogurt
  2. 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  3. 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  4. 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  5. 2 teaspoons oil
  6. 2½ teaspoons salt
  7. 2 teaspoons ground Indian red pepper (you can use cayenne or even Korean red chili powder in a pinch)
  8. 1 tablespoon paprika
  9. 2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds or coriander powder
  10. 1 tablespoon freshly ground cumin seed (or powder)
  11. ¾ teaspoon turmeric powder
  12. 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  13. ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  14. 1½ teaspoons garam masala

For the rest of the dish:
  1. 6 chicken leg quarters, cut into drumsticks and thighs
  2. 1 cucumber, sliced
  3. 1 medium red onion, sliced
  4. Cilantro for garnish (you can also use parsley)

For the Indian-style rice, or "jeera" rice:
  1. 3 cups dry basmati rice
  2. 3 tablespoons oil, butter, or ghee
  3. 3 tablespoon cumin seeds
  4. 6 cloves
  5. 1 cinnamon stick
  6. 2 teaspoons salt or salt to taste
  7. 1 cup frozen peas

  • Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.