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Tandoor style grilling

July 20, 2010

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Grilling in India is synonymous with the Tandoor style of cooking which involves cooking meats, breads and vegetables in a deep clay oven that is heated with hot coals. Food cooked in the Tandoor has a distinct flavor, achieved by using a specific blend of spices, further enhanced by the flavors of the clay oven and fumes from the burning coal. Owing to a proliferation of Indian restaurants world over, and their desire to appeal to western sensibilities, tandoor meats and tandoor style cooking has a lot of awareness and appreciation.

The good news is, Tandoor style cooking doesn’t necessarily require a clay oven and can be easily done using a conventional coal or electric grill.

Tandoor style grilling

Tandoor style grilling

With the coming of an early summer here in MN, the hubby & I have been grilling every other weekend. It all begins with marinating the meat appropriately, preferably overnight, using a blend of tenderizing yogurt and assorted Indian spices. Ready to use spice blends are easily available in all grocery stores and you’ll be sure to find a ‘Tandoor chicken masala’ packet at your neighborhood Indian grocery store. However, all the manufactured blends have tons of preservatives and artificial color that you’d be better off without, when my marinade recipe is so easy to prepare. Prep the veggies for grilling an hour before your cookout, throw on some store-bought naan on the grill and you have a veritable Indian tandoor feast at your disposal!

COOL TIP: Trader Joe’s has the best naan here in the Twin Cities and comes closest to the ones back home.

Get a printable version of this recipe here.

For the chicken: Ingredients –

  • 4 large boneless skinless breasts of chicken or equivalent amount of bone-in skinless chicken thighs, legs etc. – washed and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp Ginger & Garlic paste
  • 1 large clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp Chili powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin & Coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala powder
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • A handful of chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • Lemon wedges for garnishing


  • Make slits in the meaty portion of the chicken, to make sure the marinade flavors seep in well
  • Blend together all the other ingredients
  • In a large container, mix together the raw chicken and the marinade mix, making sure each meat piece is well enveloped in the marinade
  • Marinate overnight in the refrigerator
  • When ready for grilling, place meat on hot grill and cook on each side for 6-7 minutes or until done
  • Before serving, garnish with a healthy spritz of lemon juice
I added tomatoes to a few skewers too

Almost done!

For the vegetables: Ingredients –

  • 4 metal skewers
  • About a pound of assorted vegetables such as baby carrots, mushrooms, onions and green peppers, all cut up in large pieces that can easily sit on a skewer. You can also use cubes of Indian cottage cheese or paneer
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin & Coriander powder
  • Salt to taste


  • Mix all the vegetables and paneer well with the spices, salt and olive oil
  • Needle the veggies and paneer in the skewers, alternating a vegetable with a paneer cube
  • When ready to grill, grill on each side for 4-5 minutes or till the onions and paneer cubes are lightly charred
  • Garnish with lemon juice before serving

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Sheetal permalink
    August 12, 2010 4:53 am

    This is so yummy. Sometimes I add a few mint leaves to my marinade, it gives such a great edge to the taste.
    Your recipes were always great, lately the photos have been brilliant too.
    Food porn, thy name is OLTE. 😉

    • August 12, 2010 11:32 am

      That sounds like a great variation! Must try it. And yes, have been working on taking better pictures. Figured sooner or later I’ll have to live up to the Photographer name 😉

  2. February 7, 2011 12:27 pm

    I’m loving your tandoori spice mix. We live in an apartment so it’s hard to barbeque but I will try this in the oven. Thanks for a fab recipe!

    • February 7, 2011 2:52 pm

      Glad you liked the recipe Sukaina! You have a gorgeous blog yourself. Drooling at the photography!


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