Tandoori Coconut Chicken
Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
Prep Time: 40 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes
This tandoori chicken is made with coconut milk, so it is kosher—and so good! Allow time to marinate the chicken for 8 to 12 hours or overnight.
The Marinade and Chicken:
¼ cup white vinegar
2 (14-ounce) cans unsweetened coconut milk
1 (3-inch by 1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and cut in julienne strips
12 cloves garlic peeled, cut in half, any bitter green center removed, divided
8 chicken thighs, skin removed, bone in (4 to 4½ pounds)
The Spice Paste:
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
½ teaspoon cardamom seeds (about 12 to 15 pods, green preferred, see Kitchen Tip)
½ teaspoon whole cloves
3 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoons annatto powder
3 teaspoons ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Zest and juice of 2 fresh lemons
1 cup warm, melted coconut oil
red onion, sliced
2 lemons, washed and sliced thinly
- Marinate the chicken: Combine the vinegar, coconut milk, ginger, and garlic in a large mixing bowl and whisk well to combine. Add the chicken, turn to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours or overnight. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator about 15 to 10 minutes before cooking.
- Make the spice paste: Heat a cast-iron pan or heavy skillet over high heat until hot. Add the whole spices—the cumin, cardamom, cloves, and coriander—to the pan and swirl the spices around for 30 seconds, until they are fragrant. Transfer the warmed spices to a grinder, add the bay leaves, black pepper, and salt, and grind until powdery. Place the spice mixture into a small mixing bowl. Add the paprika, annatto, turmeric, cinnamon, lemon juice and zest, and the melted coconut oil and mix to combine into a paste.
- Preheat oven to 385°F. Spray two broiling pans with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Place the broiling pans in the oven.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade, pat dry with paper towels and place on a rimmed baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Discard the marinade and do not reuse in any manner (see Kitchen Tip). Allow to the chicken come to room temperature while the pans get very hot, about 5 to 7 minutes. The chill needs to be off the chicken so the paste won’t clump, but you don’t want it sit out too long , as it’s a safety concern. Rub the paste liberally all over the chicken. Let stand while the pans get hot.
- Place the chicken on the broiling pans and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 165°F and the juices run clear when a paring knife is inserted into the thickest part (the roasting time will depend upon the size of the chicken thighs). Garnish with sliced red onion and lemon slices and serve hot with our Citrus Rice and Fast, Fresh Pea and Ginger Dahl.
- To remove the seeds from cardamom pods, simply crush them by pressing on them firmly with the side of a large chef’s knife. Gather up the tiny seeds and discard the husks. They are also available as just the seeds from spice shops, like Penzeys.
- Discard the marinade when you are ready to cook, as it may harbor dangerous foodborne bacteria. Some recipes suggest that you can kill any bacteria by boiling it for 15 minutes but this is not true—and not safe.