Tandoori Murgh

Tandoori Murgh is one of Northern India’s most popular dishes, and for good reason. The yogurt-marinated chicken is cooked over hot coals in a special clay oven called a tandoor. Traditionally, whole chickens are used, but this recipe also works well with thighs, boneless breasts or drumsticks. While the delicious smoky flavor from the tandoor is hard to beat, you can also get great results using your home oven or grill. Chicken is the most popular Tandoori recipe, but you can also use lamb, beef, seafood, fish or vegetables.

Tandoori Murgh


  • 8 tablespoons Cabot Unsalted Butter, to make 5 to 6 tablespoons of Ghee
  • 1 whole frying chicken (3 to 4 pounds) cut up or 3 1/2 pounds chicken breast halves, skin on
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds or 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds or 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 inch piece of ginger root, roughly chopped or 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup Cabot Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon paprika



Melt 8 tablespoons, or 1 stick, of Cabot Unsalted Butter in a saucepan over low heat, being careful not to let it brown at any point in time.

Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. When the surface is covered with foam, stir immediately and reduce the heat to a very low simmer. Let simmer for 30 to 45 minutes without stirring. When the butter on top is nice and clear pour the ghee into a bowl through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. The idea is that the ghee must be totally clear and contain no milk solids. Ghee can be kept in a jar and sealed in the refrigerator for months.


Dry the chicken pieces with a paper towel and arrange in a single layer in a glass baking dish. Set aside while making the marinade.

Heat a small frying pan over low heat and toast the coriander and cumin seeds for a minute or so. Be sure and shake the pan constantly when toasting the seeds to avoid scorching.

Drop the seeds into the jar of an electric blender, add all of the remaining marinade ingredients and blend until the mixture is reduced to a smooth paste. If you don’t have a food processor or blender you can use coriander powder and cumin powder and just cut the ginger, garlic and onion very fine. The idea is to make the marinade as much like a smooth paste as possible.

Spread the yogurt masala marinade evenly over the chicken pieces with a rubber spatula, cover, refrigerate and let marinate overnight.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. *See below for instructions on grilling outdoors.

When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the marinade and place on a wire rack in a baking pan and coat the chicken with all but 2 tablespoons of the ghee.

Roast in the center of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and continue cooking for another hour or until the chicken is done. Before removing the chicken from the oven, baste it with the remaining 2 tablespoons ghee.

Leave rack in the center of the oven, set the oven broiler on high for another 5 minutes to brown and crisp the edges of the chicken. Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

* For grilling with a charcoal grill

Place the charcoal on one side of the grill and leave one side as the “cold” side. If using a gas grill, heat only one side, if possible. If not, keep the heat on low.

Cook the chicken for about an hour turning every 15 minutes or so.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings | Prep: 25 min | Cook: 2 hr 20 min

Nutrition Information: Calories: 610 - 1/6 of recipe: % Daily Value Total Fat: 43g 66% Saturated Fat: 12g 60% Cholesterol: 225mg 75% Sodium: 170mg 7% Carbohydrates: 6g 2% Dietary Fiber: 1g 4% Protein: 60g Calcium: 72mg 8%

Recipe courtesy of Jimmy Kennedy. Photo courtesy of Caroline Hurley.

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