Tandoori-Style Chicken

Yield6 servings

Time50 minutes


Cooking chicken the night before to serve cold or at room temperature the next day is a brilliant plan for summer soirées, picnics or potlucks. Since the flavors of something cold are usually less pronounced than when they were warm, and since flavors are always muted during storage anyway, the key is to start with more flavor: a blast of herbs, a rub or a marinade. A fiery jalapeño and ginger spiked yogurt marinade to give life to my take on tandoori chicken, for example. The lack of any messy sauces means that they can all be packed up and taken on a picnic without worrying about dripping, leaking containers. A resealable plastic bag or sheet of aluminum foil will work just fine. You could even happily eat everything with your fingers — if, say, you eschewed (or forgot) the plastic forks and knives and just packed a stack of paper napkins.


  • ½cup plain yogurt
  • ¼cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼teaspoon ground cardamom
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1small onion, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1jalapeño, stemmed, and seeded if desired
  • 1inch-long piece gingerroot, peeled and sliced into coins
  • 2garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4pounds skinless chicken drumsticks and thighs, rinsed and patted dry
  •  Vegetable oil, for brushing
  •  Lime wedges, for garnish


  1. For marinade, combine all ingredients except for chicken, oil and lime wedges in a food processor and purée until smooth.
  2. With a sharp knife, make several incisions on each chicken piece to help marinade penetrate meat. Transfer chicken to a large glass or ceramic baking dish and pour in marinade, turning chicken pieces to coat. Cover dish with plastic wrap and transfer to refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove chicken pieces from marinade. Transfer chicken to a roasting pan and drizzle with vegetable oil. Roast, basting occasionally, until juices run clear and meat is just cooked through, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely, then wrap and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve with lime wedges.

Originally published in The New York Times Tandoori-Style Chicken, by Melissa Clark