Baked Tandoori Chicken
Tandoori Chicken is an iconic dish in Indian restaurants. The signature red color is unmistakable, due to the red chile peppers, paprika or even red food coloring. A tandoori is a clay oven, which bakes the chicken. But most of us don’t have a tandoori in our homes, so we must grill or bake our dish. The spices are what gives the recipe it’s signature flavor, and whether you bake or grill, it’s a personal preference. To us, baking comes a bit closer. The final color might not be as red as some restaurants, but we’re not using any coloring agents as many places do.
Marinating helps to tenderize the chicken and keep it moist while cooking. That’s why you cut slits in the chicken as well, allowing the marinade to penetrate into the pieces.
1 (4 to 4 ½ pound) Chicken. Cut into 8 pieces and remove the skin. (Some cooks leave the skin on.)
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
½ Cup White Onion Chopped
3 – 4 Fresh Garlic Cloves Chopped
2 Tablespoons Fresh Ginger Chopped
2-3 Tablespoons Tandoori Curry Spice
½ Cup Plain or Greek Yogurt
1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
Cut diagonal slices in the chicken pieces about a ½ inch deep and about ¾ inch apart. This allows the marinade to get into the chicken. Place the chicken in a baking dish.
Put the oil, garlic, onion and Tandoori Spice in a food processor or blender and process on high speed until blended into a paste. Add the yogurt and lemon juice and blend until smooth. Scrape the sides make sure everything is blended. Pour over the chicken and coat evenly. Cover the dish with plastic wrap. Place in a refrigerator for 4 hours and turn the chicken periodically to keep the pieces coasted. You can marinate up to 24 hours if you prefer. The longer you marinade it, the more time it has to allow the flavors to penetrate into the chicken.
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Place the chicken on a baking sheet. Cook for 20 minutes. Turn over and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes for a total 35 to 40 minutes, cooking thoroughly. Remove from oven and serve with rice and with warm naan (or pita) bread.