Mamta's Kitchen - A Family Cookbook

Whole Tandoori Chicken

Masaledar Tandoori Murga

Mamta Gupta

Indian Main Meat

This is an easy dish to cook, the recipe can be used to make a Roast Turkey or other game birds too, even whole lamb leg/shoulder. The spicy marinade gives the roast chicken a special Indian flavour.

It can be served with an Indian meal or as a traditional roast dinner, along with a selection of vegetables. Leftovers are great served with salad. Serve it with a Yoghurt Salad Dressing 3.

It is an easy dish to prepare, in spite of a long list of ingredients.

Pictures by Heather Gregory.

Serves 6

Edited October 2023


  • 2 to 2 1/2 kg. whole roasting chicken, skin removed (most Indians cook chicken without skin)
  • 3 large onions peeled and roughly chopped into medium sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 8-10 cloves
  • 2 tsp. coriander powder
  • 2 tsp. Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 3-4 green chillies or 1-2 tsp. chilli powder
  • 1 heaped tsp. sweet paprika powder for colour
  • Juice of 1 large lemon or 2 tbsp. bottled lemon juice or one lemon peeled, leaving the flesh intact
  • 4 tbsp. cooking oil
  • A small bunch of coriander leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp. gram flour or besan (optional, it helps to make the marinade stick to the chicken better)
  • 1 small carton or 1 cup thick yoghurt*


  1. Make slits in the chicken in breast and thigh areas.
  2. Insert cloves and a few garlic cloves in the slits. Leave a couple of garlic cloves inside the cavity.
  3. Put all ingredients except yoghurt in a liquidizer and grind to a paste.
  4. Add yoghurt and give a quick whiz to mix it well. Adding yoghurt on previous step makes the marinade too watery.
  5. Cover the chicken all over, outside and inside, with the marinade ensuring that some enters the slits.
  6. Leave in an airtight container in the fridge overnight or at least for 3-4 hours. If it is not covered, the whole fridge will smell!
  7. Put the chicken in a roasting tin, cover with Aluminium foil and cook* in the centre of oven 200°C (180°C in fan oven) or 400°F, Gas Mark 6 for 1 1/2 hours. Now take the foil off (keeping it covered until the last 20 minutes or so, keeps it succulent) and brown for a further 20-30 minutes at 210°C or 410°F, Gas Mark 7, until the surface looks nicely browned, looking crispy and charred in places, as if you have cooked it on a BBQ. Oven temperatures and performances vary, so keep an eye on the chicken the first time you cook it and work out your own time for cooking.
  8. Pour any liquid/drippings collected in the roasting tin/tray into a gravy pot and serve alongside the tandoori chicken. As chicken is skinless, this does not have much fat in it. But if there is any fat floating at the top, spoon it off.
  9. Serve with rice pulao and Mint Raita 4, Made With Mint Sauce, Like In Indian Restaurants in UK (Yoghurt).
  10. Also see: Mamta's Tandoori Chicken, Tandoori Chicken with Carom Seeds and Parsee-Style Tandoori Chicken.
  11. *Cooking times for whole chicken: At 200°C; 20 minute per 500 gm plus 20 minutes extra. You may need to increase the temperature for the last 20 minutes, if you want to get the 'tandoor cooked' look.


  • *Tips for cooking with yoghurt:
  • Always use full fat yoghurt, if possible. Skimmed milk yoghurt sometimes curdles during cooking.
  • Make sure that the dish you are cooking is at room temperature. If yoghurt is cooked straight from the fridge, it may curdle.
This recipe was originally created Sep 9, 2003 and last updated May 21, 2024

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