Grilled Tandoori Chicken Recipe

MMmmmm, spicy tandoori chicken is one of my favorite Indian foods. It’s simple to prepare and can be cooked without a tandoori oven. And although it’s traditionally made with bone-in chicken parts, I decided to use skinless chicken breasts last night.

While the chicken turned out wonderfully spicy and moist, the grilling traumatized my kitchen …

I’m here to break the myth that grill pans are a feasible means of indoor grilling. I have a powerful range hood and had all of the windows wide open yet my kitchen and adjoining room (see photo above) filled with smoke. I opened our back door and watched and the smoke roll out … then worried my neighbors might think our house was ablaze.

But, a little pain like smoke is the price you pay for delicious tandoori. I stumbled across a recipe by Emeril … yes, Emeril, for Grilled
Tandoori Chicken
and decided to give it a try. I’m positive that Anjum Anand is not reading my blog, otherwise I would feel quite ashamed in choosing him over her.

You’ll find Emeril’s recipe from the like above and I won’t repeat the recipe here since I didn’t make any adjustments, other than using chicken breasts. The marinade is quick to prepare and works well to tenderize the chicken. You could take the toughest old bird and marinate overnight in this mixture to make the most tender chicken you’ve ever eaten. If using chicken breasts, do not leave in the marinade for more than 1 hours or you’ll have mushy breasts (um, mushy chicken breasts).

The tandoori marinade is a mix of garlic, ginger, spices, lemon juice and yogurt. I used the Oikos Greek Yogurt again and it worked well. Admittedly, I’m going through a food crush with Oikos right now — it’s non-fat, yet super thick and creamy. You can find it at Whole Foods or other organic markets.

Tandoori is usually bright red and I considered adding a drop of red food coloring, but decided to leave it natural. The paprika gives it a slightly reddish orange color.

I grilled the chicken for about 20 minutes in total. It is flavorful and tender, a nice twist on an otherwise boring chicken breast. The spices and non-fat yogurt make this a healthy option as well. I served with a sweet and savory quinoa salad loaded with fresh veggies and bits of fruit.

I wish I had planned for leftovers as I bet this would make a fantastic spicy tandoori chicken salad the next day. If anyone tries it, let me know!

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  1. My kitchen looked just like yours yesterday, but that was because I decided to use my broiler after making a roast chicken, which had splattered fat all over the heating elements.
    You’re chicken looks fantastic.

  2. Allen, I too get things smoky with the broiler on, oh well! I’d put up with it to get this lovely looking tandoori chicken..a wonderful gift from Indian cuisine.

  3. Tandoori chicken is one of my favourite barbeque dishes in the summer. It is so moist and delicious, it just falls off of the bone:D

  4. Huh, I wouldn’t be ashamed to use Emeril’s recipe. (clapclapclapclap) He’s a very good chef as far as I know. (whooooo!) He just has a screwy idea of what constitutes entertainment. (BAM!) I’d imagine there wouldn’t be much of a difference between Anjum’s recipe and his. (hahahaha!)

    He doesn’t seem to agree with the mushy chicken breast thing– he recommends to marinate for 4-24 hours? (oooooh!) And besides that, he asks that you grill the chicken for 25-30 minutes— that’ll turn chicken breasts into a powder!! (hahahaha!) Maybe he wants chicken powder, then he can sprinkle it on things! (BAM!)

    At least the smoke detector didn’t go off and you’ll have to feed a score of disgruntled firemen :P (hahaha!) Now, how much did this annoy you? (hahaha!)

  5. “mushy chicken breasts”…LOL…too funny Allen. Great job with the marinade and the chicken. I seem to be cooking a lot of Indian lately all thanks to you for introducing me to Anjum.

  6. Sylvie: Ahhh, yes — I’ve had a few battles with my broiler as well :-)

    Peter M: Maybe we should invest in face masks? I’m sure the smoke isn’t too good for us.

    Bellini Valli: I should have fired up the outdoor grill, it would have tasted even better and saved us from all the smoke. :-)

    Manggy: Emeril is a good chef but I can’t stand watching him. I remember when he had a sitcom on TV, which didn’t last very long. BAM! … and he was gone :-)

    Peter G: Well, I didn’t want you to think that your breasts would become mushy :-)

  7. My kitchen smoked up too yesterday after cooking chicken on my griddle pan – I’m beginning to think no rangehood is strong enough!

    It’s worth it though for the crispy ‘lines’.

  8. I’m with you on the grill pans. The Spouse won’t even let me pull mine out of the cabinet because of how smoky it gets. Fortunately he’s willing to grill outdoors in all sorts of weather! Your chicken looks great.

  9. Christie: Very true — the crispy grills are kinda worth it. Next time I might sear the chicken on the grill pan, then bake in the oven to fully cook the chicken.

    Fearless: Not only does the pan create smoke, it is a pain in the butt to clean — yuck!

  10. Oh dear for smoky kitchen! Mine takes forever to clear if I get a little smoke.

    Love the sound of your tandoori chicken. Anjum’s version is actually on my bookmarked list!!!! lol

  11. I love tandoori chicken, too! Yours looks yummy!:) I am sure Anjum will forgive you since you used quite a few of her recipes in the past – she must be very proud and happy:)

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