Marinating Is The Secret For The Best Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori chicken on platter
Tandoori chicken on platter - Anastasianurullina/Getty Images

If your tandoori chicken is coming out stringy, dry, and bland, instead of aromatically succulent and spicy, we've got the ultimate tip to help you hit that juicy sweet spot every time. It's this: Always marinate your cuts in yogurt and spices to guarantee a tender texture and lusciously charred crust.

Marinating tandoori chicken for a lengthy period (preferably overnight) deeply infuses the meat with the flavors of earthy spices. Cumin, turmeric, and chili powder seep in via the medium of creamy yogurt, which maximizes juiciness and improves texture. Although it's tempting to shorten this step to get dinner on the table faster, it's better to pre-plan and marinate early to make the best tandoori chicken ever.

Unlike highly acidic marinades featuring citrus and vinegar, which can leave the meat surface mushy if steeped for too long, a yogurt marinade tenderizes the proteins in a gentler way, resulting in an appetizingly moist texture. This is because yogurt contains lactic acid, which works in a milder and slower fashion than the citric acid found in lemons and limes. Lemons also have a tarter flavor than the slightly sour notes of a creamy yogurt that lends tandoori chicken its lip-smacking characteristic.

The thick consistency of yogurt also helps the marinade cling to the chicken, creating a smoky, fragrant crust that retains the succulence of the yielding meat beneath it once cooked. Do it right and you'll have a meltingly soft, tangy layer between the charred surface and the tender chicken.

Read more: 25 Delicious Indian Dishes You Have To Try At Least Once

Top Tips For Marinating Tandoori Chicken In Yogurt

Tandoori chicken baked in tandoor
Tandoori chicken baked in tandoor - Libin Jose/Getty Images

To make the perfect marinade for tandoori chicken, mix your spices, along with ginger and garlic paste, into your plain yogurt. You're looking for a thick consistency so the marinade heavily coats the pieces of chicken without dripping off. Make slashes in the chicken with a sharp knife to increase the surface area for the marinade to cling to. Thighs and legs that are still on the bone, instead of breasts, are ideal for achieving a juicier texture because they have a greater fat content. The slashes will also encourage the chicken to cook faster, preventing it from drying out.

Toss your chicken into the marinade, giving it a thorough stir before covering and refrigerating until you're ready to start grilling or oven-baking. If you're lucky enough to have an authentic tandoor, spike the chicken onto metal skewers before roasting the cuts in the fierce heat of your clay oven. The skewers will conduct the heat into the center of the chicken, again helping to speed up the cooking process and boosting succulence. Finally, all that's left to do is enjoy your scrumptious tandoori chicken with cooling raita and a fresh green salad for the ultimate flavor-packed meal.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.