A Whiff of India Tandoori Chicken

tandooriYou cannot claim an authentic tandoori chicken recipe when you don’t have a tandoori oven, but you can approximate it certainly.

I’ve tried several, and found most rather awful, but this one seemed to work pretty darn well. The flavorings were clear but not overpowering.

I think a grill works great as an alternative to a tandoori oven, although still you can’t approximate the temperatures needed.

While the spice list is daunting (I had everything on hand myself), an alternative of Garam Masala would work as a substitute–it’s basically the same spices just already mixed.

I did alter the recipe myself substituting greek yogurt for the coconut milk which is not authentic anyway and was a way to create a dairy-free substitute.

The longer you marinate, the better it will be.


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sunflower oil, divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp greek yogurt
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs


  1. In a medium (10-inch) skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic, and all the spices (including the salt) and stir well to combine. Turn the heat to low and cook until the onion is translucent, about ten minutes.

  2. Combine the onion mixture, yogurt, and lime juice in a blender or small food processor. Blend for a full minute until smooth. You should have about 1/2 cup of marinade.

  3. Cover the chicken with the marinade and transfer to the refrigerator for at least  30 minutes or longer.Actually several hours is best, even over night. Slit through the skin if using chicken pieces with skin. This will allow the marinade to get deeper into the meat.  In the meantime, preheat a grill or broiler.

  4. Grill or broil the chicken until cooked through, 8-10 minutes per side for breasts and 3-4 minutes per side for thighs. Serve immediately. Go for as high a heat as you can.

    SERVES: 4

    NOTES: Use garam masala in place of the herbs. Substitute regular yogurt or coconut milk for the liquid. This is supposed to be a paste. I place my chicken in a plastic bag, spoon in the marinade and then shut and massage the pieces until they are well covered.

    SOURCE: Serious Eats as adapted by Sherry Peyton


Tangy Tomato Chutney

chutneyI’ve always steered clear of chutneys. Mostly because they seemed to pair things I didn’t think sounded very good together.

Well, I was wrong. And I’m seldom wrong I tell ya.

But this stuff is good.

It’s like something to just put on the table with just about everything. You could use it on sandwiches, hotdogs, and along with roast meats of any kind.

It’s just delicious, easy to make, and should be in your refrigerator ALL the time.


  • 5 large cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped (at least half a head–I know it sounds like a lot in the ratio, but it really is okay. I checked the recipe more than once)
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped or grated
  • 1 28 oz of tomatoes or equal amount of fresh “real tasting” tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 c red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne (as you wish)
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins
  • 2 tbsp slivered almonds


  1. Place the garlic, ginger and 1/2 c of the red wine vinegar together in a blender and whir up until completely smooth.
  2. Put everything else in a non-metallic heavy clad saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. When it reaches a boil, add the puree.
  4. Lower heat and continue to cook at a low simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
  5. Cool. The mixture should be like honey when tipped from a spoon.
  6. Add the raisins and almonds.
  7. Store in the fridge.

SERVES: 1 pint

NOTES: If it doesn’t thicken enough after it’s cool, then I would put it back on and simmer some more. It should be more or less like a thick ketchup.

SOURCE: An Invitation to Indian Cooking, by Madhur Jaffrey