Tandoori-Marinated Chicken with Cucumber, Lime, and Chiles

Prep Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 day

Indian cuisine celebrates chicken in remarkable ways, and this dish was inspired by classic tandoori cooking. Rich flavors result from rubbing the bird with a fragrant paste of spices, onion, and yogurt (which acts as a tenderizer) and letting it infuse the meat. The cucumber, lime, and chiles provide sharp, bright contrast to the seductively scented roast.


  • 1 ½ teaspoons whole cumin seeds

  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds

  • ½ teaspoon whole fennel seeds

  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped

  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric

  • ½ cup Greek yogurt

  • Coarse salt

  • 1 whole chicken (about 4 ½ pounds)

  • Cucumbers, lime wedges , and chiles (such as serrano)


  1. Toast cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Grind into a fine powder.

  2. Puree onion, garlic, and ginger. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion mixture. Fry until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in spice mixture and turmeric. Let cool.

  3. Stir yogurt into onion mixture. Season with salt.

  4. Place chicken, breast side up, on a rimmed baking sheet, and tuck wings under. Tie legs together with kitchen twine. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Gently separate skin from breast of chicken, and rub some of the yogurt mixture under the skin on each side. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

  5. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Uncover chicken, and season with salt. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. Roast chicken for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, and tent loosely with foil. Return to oven, rotating sheet. Roast until juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh reaches 165 degrees, about 30 minutes more. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving with cucumbers, lime wedges, and chiles.

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