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Jolie Cooks with Madhu Column: Joe grills Tandoori Chicken for a Family Barbecue

Posted on August 10, 2021 at 11:00 AM by Madhu Gadia

August 10, 2021

Jolie Cooks with Madhu Column: 
Joe grills Tandoori Chicken for a Family Barbecue



Upcoming Event: CHAI & CHAT


Gateway Indian recipe.

When our kids were growing up, their favorite restaurant was Gandhi India on Devon Street in Chicago.  Every time we went, they loaded their plates with tandoori chicken from the buffet. When Madhu suggested I try her recipe for Barbecue/Tandoori Chicken, my son Joe jumped at the chance to fire up the coals to do the grilling—and testing. He believes that Tandoor Chicken is the “gateway recipe” to Indian food.

I doubled the recipe and bought 2 whole chickens. Using chicken pieces would have been quicker, but I enjoyed having control of the whole process of chopping,  skinning, and making cuts in each piece. In the next step I combined the yogurt, spices, onion, garlic, and red food coloring in a blender. I covered the chicken pieces with this rich marinade and refrigerated them overnight. 

Family makes the Ultimate Decision



Joe, a stalwart Weber-and-charcoal griller, used indirect heat to cook the chicken and was pleased with the results.  He rated Madhu’s recipe as EXCELLENT.  “The chicken was more tender and more flavorful than in Indian restaurants and a little spicier, which I like.  Next time I would make the grill hotter and use less marinade on individual pieces.  It’s better than Steven Raichlen’s recipe for tandoori chicken in Beer Can Chicken!”

Daughter-in-law: “I liked it. Yummy.”

Grandson: “Good. The rice complimented it.” It was the first time he had Cumin Rice (see here). 

Granddaughter who eats only rice or plain dosas at Indian restaurants: “I never had chicken before in an Indian restaurant.  Next time, for the first time, I’d order it.”

Everyone was happy.  The chicken looked as stunning as it tasted and would wow those who already love tandoori chicken or have never tasted it. I was amazed that the chicken breast was so tender that I cut it with a fork. Madhu’s suggestion to score each piece with a knife allowed the marinade to tenderize the meat. On my to-do list is making it in the oven. 

"I predict that this Barbecue/Tandoori Chicken will become a family favorite." 


Madhu’s Comments:

I’m beyond elated that Joe, “a stalwart Weber-and-charcoal griller,” thought that my Tandoori Chicken recipe turned out better than Steven Raichlen’s recipe for tandoori chicken in Beer Can Chicken!” Thank you, Joe. 

Ummm, maybe I should reach out to Steven Raichlen and the Weber grill people. I met Raichlen at the International Association of Culinary Professionals conference way back in 2000. I wonder if he remembers me? I was new to the culinary world and he was an established celebrity. 

My Revelation 

I’m going to declare that “Tandoori Chicken” has earned its place among the world’s infamous chicken dishes. We no longer have to call it Indian barbecued chicken. When I first published this recipe in Lite and Luscious Cuisine of India (republished as New Indian Home Cooking), tandoori chicken was an anomaly; served only in Indian restaurants. Today, you will find tandoori chicken on pizzas, wraps, and salads. 

What is tandoor? What does tandoori mean? Check out the blog: The Indian Tandoor, A Clay Oven. 

Tandoori Chicken Recipe: New Indian Home Cooking, page 156. 
Tandoori Chicken Video and recipe: on the website:


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Disclaimer: "Jolie Cooks with Madhu" is an independent column. The views expressed are Jolie Zimmers's personal cooking experiences and do not represent any product or company. They are not paid or reimbursed by any third party for their viewpoints.


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