Eleanor Ford's Tandoori Roast Chicken

'Tandoori chicken is a jewel in the crown of North Indian cuisine, the dish we know today being a twentieth-century creation founded on an ancient past. There is evidence of chickens being roasted in clay ovens as early as 3000 BC and the spiced yoghurt marinade has become synonymous with the tandoor oven (though this is necessarily cooked without one). I must give thanks to Roopa Gulati for inspiring my version; she is a spice maestro and the marinade is hers. This is truly one of my favourite things to cook and eat.'

The recipe is taken from The Nutmeg Trail: A culinary journey along the ancient spice routes by Eleanor Ford (Murdoch Books, £26).

Shop The Nutmeg Trail Cookbook & Ingredients set. 

 For marinade 1

For marinade 2

  • 150g (generous ½ cup) Greek-style (strained) yoghurt
  • 3cm (1¼ inches) ginger, peeled and minced (1 tablespoon)
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies, seeds in, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin


  1. Cut two deep slashes across each chicken breast, thigh and drumsticks. Sit the chicken in a snug-fitting roasting tin.
  2. Mix all the ingredients for the first marinade together then pour evenly over the chicken. Set aside whilst you make the second marinade.
  3. Whisk together all the ingredients for the second marinade, then spoon over the chicken, making sure it is well coated. Cover and put in the fridge overnight to marinate. Bring the chicken to room temperature before roasting.
  4. Heat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
  5. Roast for 1 hour–1¼ hours, spooning over the marinade and collected roasting juices a couple of times during cooking. If it is browning too fast, loosely cover with tin foil. It is ready when the juices run clear or a meat thermometer reads 74°C (165°F).
  6. Rest before serving.
© Speciality Cooking Supplies Limited 2024

Eat with:

Naan bread and perhaps some Aphrodisiac greens (page 60) You could also add Aloo jeera: Coat a large frying pan with oil and sizzle a heaped teaspoon of cumin seeds. Add 550g (1lb 4oz) new potatoes cut into 1cm (½ inch) dice and stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle in ½ teaspoon ground turmeric and ½ teaspoon ground chilli. Lower the heat, cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until tender, stirring once or twice. Season with salt.

TRY: Eleanor Ford on How Spices Shaped The World


  • Hi Blue Twangy! Thank you so much for spotting our mistake – this recipe has been amended now. If you cook it let us know how you get one. Thanks, Helena

    Helena @ Sous Chef on

  • Looks a fab recipe, a bit confused as to why step one is to heat the oven, do you cook after the first marinade? Or should the oven go on after the second marinade overnight?

    Blue Twangy on

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