How to Make Authentic Tandoori Chicken Curry: Step-by-Step Recipe

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Written By Haryana’s Restaurant

Authentic Indian Food – Classic Indian Cuisine in Terrace BC

Imagine biting into a piece of chicken so tender and flavorful that it transports you straight to the bustling streets of Delhi. That’s the magic of Tandoori Chicken Curry, a beloved dish that has captured the hearts of food lovers around the world. Steeped in tradition and bursting with bold, spicy flavors, this recipe is a testament to the rich culinary heritage of India.


Prepare to embark on a culinary journey with these carefully selected ingredients that will bring the essence of Delhi right into your kitchen.

Tandoiri Chicken Marinade

  • 1 lb of chicken, cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic paste
  • 2 teaspoons of ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon of red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 cup of yogurt, preferably full-fat
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • Salt to taste

The Other Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger paste
  • 2 large tomatoes, pureed
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 cup of water
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish

Equipment Needed

  • Large Mixing Bowl: Essential for marinating the chicken, make sure it’s large enough to accommodate all the pieces and marinade.
  • Whisk or Spoon: For mixing the marinade ingredients to ensure they are well-blended.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accuracy is key in achieving the perfect flavor balance, so these will come in handy.
  • Blender or Food Processor: You will need this for making a smooth, fine paste of the ingredients that will go into your curry.
  • Heavy-Bottomed Pan or Skillet: A good quality pan ensures even cooking and prevents burning of the spices.
  • Tongs: These are helpful for turning the chicken pieces safely and easily while cooking.
  • From the aromatic streets of Delhi right to your kitchen, gearing up with these tools will set you up perfectly for making a delicious Tandoori Chicken Curry.

Preparation Steps

Now that you have all your ingredients and essential tools at hand, let’s dive into creating this flavorful dish. Follow these step-by known with their engaging aromas and textures!

Marinating the Chicken

  1. Start by cleaning your chicken pieces and drying them with paper towels to ensure the spices and yogurt adhere well.
  2. In your large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of plain yogurt, 2 tablespoons of ginger-garlic paste, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of cumin powder, 2 teaspoons of coriander powder, 1 teaspoon of garam masala, 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder, and 1 teaspoon of chili powder.
  3. Whisk the ingredients together until you achieve a smooth, well-combined marinade.
  4. Add the chicken pieces to the marinade, ensuring each piece is thoroughly coated. For the best flavors, use your hands to rub the marinade into the chicken.
  5. Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate the chicken for at least 3 hours, ideally overnight for deeper flavor penetration.

Cooking the Tandoori Chicken Curry Base

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat.
  2. Add 1 finely chopped onion to the oil and sauté until they turn golden brown and caramelized, which should take about 6-8 minutes.
  3. To the onions, add 1 tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste and cook for another 2 minutes until the raw smell disappears.
  4. Stir in 2 chopped tomatoes and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the tomatoes are fully broken down and the mixture appears thick.
  5. Now, sprinkle in 1 teaspoon each of cumin powder, coriander powder, and garam masala. Also, add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder and chili powder to taste. Mix these spices well with the onion-tomato mixture and cook for another minute to release their flavors.
  6. Pour in 1 cup of water (adjust more or less depending on how thick you want your curry) and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  7. Add the marinated chicken into the simmering curry base. Stir well to ensure that the chicken is well coated with the curry.
  8. Cover the pan and let the chicken cook for about 25-30 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is tender and the curry reaches your desired consistency.
  9. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and additional spices, if needed.

Cooking Instructions

Let’s dive into the steps that will guide you through cooking this aromatic Tandoori Chicken Curry perfectly.

Cooking the Tandoori Chicken

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Arrange the oven racks to accommodate a large roasting pan or a wire rack large enough to hold the chicken pieces in one layer.
  2. Prepare your baking sheet or roasting pan. Line it with aluminum foil and place a greased wire rack over it.
  3. Arrange the chicken pieces on the rack. Ensure they are spread out evenly and not overlapping. The space allows them to cook evenly and become crispier on the outside.
  4. Roast the chicken in the oven. Let it cook for about 35-40 minutes. Halfway through, turn the pieces over to ensure they cook evenly on all sides.
  5. Check for doneness. The chicken should be a golden brown with a slightly charred edge, and juices should run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife.

Simmering the Tandoori Chicken Curry

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet or pan. Choose a pan that’s large enough to hold all the curry ingredients comfortably.
  2. Add chopped onions to the oil. Sauté them over medium heat until they are golden and translucent, which will take about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic and ginger. Continue to sauté for another 2 minutes until the raw smell of ginger and garlic has dissipated.
  4. Mix in the chopped tomatoes and spices. This includes the curry powder, turmeric, cumin, and coriander. Cook this mixture for about 10 minutes until the tomatoes break down and the spices meld harmoniously.
  5. Pour in water or chicken broth. Use enough to create your desired curry consistency (about 1-2 cups).
  6. Add the pre-roasted Tandoori chicken pieces into the skillet. Stir well to coat the chicken with the curry sauce.
  7. Simmer the curry. Reduce the heat to low and let the curry simmer gently for 15-20 minutes. The flavors will deepen, and the chicken will become wonderfully tender.
  8. Season to taste. Adjust the salt and any additional spices as needed before serving.

These steps ensure each mouthful of your Tandoori Chicken Curry is bursting with deep, traditional flavors, making it a delightful dish that pays homage to its rich heritage.

Assembling Tandoori Chicken Curry

Combine the Roasted Chicken and Curry Base

Once your chicken has roasted to a golden-brown perfection and the curry base is bubbling with fragrant spices, it’s time to merge them. Carefully add the roasted chicken pieces into the simmering curry base. Use a spatula or a spoon to gently fold the chicken into the sauce, ensuring each piece is well-coated with the curry.

Simmer to Perfection

After combining the chicken with the curry base, reduce the heat to low. Allow the curry to simmer gently for about 20 minutes. This slow cooking process helps the chicken absorb the flavors of the spices and the tomatoes, resulting in a dish that’s complex in taste and tender in texture. Stir the curry occasionally to prevent sticking and check if additional salt or spices are needed.

Final Touches and Garnish

As your Tandoori Chicken Curry nears completion, it’s time to add the final touches. If you prefer a creamier texture, stir in a few tablespoons of cream or plain yogurt. Adjust the seasoning if necessary, adding more salt or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for extra tang. Finally, garnish with chopped fresh cilantro or dried fenugreek leaves for an aromatic lift.

Serve your Tandoori Chicken Curry hot, accompanied by steamed rice, naan, or roti for a delightful meal that captures the essence of traditional Indian cuisine.

Serving Suggestions

After mastering the rich flavors of Tandoori Chicken Curry, serving it in a style that complements its roots and enhances its taste is essential. Here are the best ways to turn your curry into a full, satisfying meal.

Pair with Indian Breads

Opt for traditional Indian breads like naan, roti, or paratha. The soft texture of naan or the flaky, buttery layers of paratha make them perfect tools for scooping up generous amounts of curry. If you’re feeling adventurous, try garlic or butter naan, which adds a delightful aroma and taste to each bite.

Accompany with Rice

Basmati rice is the most traditional accompaniment to any curry due to its fragrant and fluffy texture. You can cook the rice with a pinch of saffron or turmeric to add a beautiful color and subtle flavor, which makes the dish visually appealing and tantalizingly aromatic.

Include a Side Salad

A simple side salad consisting of sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and a squeeze of lemon can refresh your palate. This addition not only brings a crunchy, refreshing contrast but also cuts through the richness of the curry.

Serve with Pickles and Chutneys

Enhance your meal with an assortment of Indian pickles and chutneys—such as mango pickle or mint chutney—which introduce additional spice and tang, balancing the deep flavors of the curry.

Offer Raita

Prepare a cooling raita, a yogurt-based condiment mixed with cucumber, mint, and spices. Raita’s cooling effect is particularly soothing when enjoying the spicy flavors of Tandoori Chicken Curry.

Following these suggestions, you transform your Tandoori Chicken Curry into an authentic and enjoyable Indian feast. Each component not only complements the dish but also enhances your overall dining experience.


Ready to dive into the vibrant flavors of Tandoori Chicken Curry? With its rich, aromatic spices and tender, marinated chicken, this dish promises to be a delightful treat. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or simply spicing up your weeknight dinner routine, it’s sure to impress. Don’t forget to pair it with the suggested sides for a truly authentic experience. Enjoy every bite and let the bold tastes transport you to the heart of Indian cuisine.

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