Pakistan – Tandoori Chicken

by Dahiza Umar


This is a famous Pakistani Punjabi dish. Tandoori chicken is a roasted marinated chicken with several spices and yogurt, lemon marinate. This is known as Tandoori chicken because the word tandoor is used for the clay oven. The clay oven is known as tandoor. This marinated chicken is used to be cooked in that tandoor until it is tendered and softened. This dish is even popular in the western side of the world. It can be mixed with the gravy when served as the tandoori chicken curry. Tandoori chicken could be the spicier version and the milder version. The milder version of tandoori chicken is Malai chicken tandoori. This is cooked with cream and yogurt without the usage of any spicy ingredients. This dish is created in the Indian Subcontinent by the Indian chef.

Tandoori chicken has the use of its specific spices and also the specific chicken cut. Most of the time, a whole chicken is used to roast in the clay oven. This is a very spicy but delicious dish. This is traditionally only cooked by a chicken but now it is cooked by beef meat and also mutton is consumed.

There are many varieties of dishes cooked with tandoori chicken. Like this is cooked and added into the rice for Tandoori chicken biryani, Tandoori chicken Pulao, Tandoori curry, Tandoori chicken masala, etc.


This dish is named after the cooking technique and main ingredients, like Chicken and Tandoor.

Chicken is the main ingredient of the dish used for roasting.

Tandoor is the clay oven or also known as stove oven, which is used for chicken roasting. Tandoor is the cooking technique used for chicken roasting.


Tandoori chicken was invented by the two Indian Chefs, Kundan Laal Gujral and Kundan Laal Jaggi. Kundan Laal Gujral is also known as ”Father of Butter chicken”.

Before this dish, there were many other similar dishes of chicken. This dish came into existence with the use of Tandoor. During the HARAPAN CIVILIZATION, people found the ancient tandoors at the ancient places. This civilization was back in 3000 BC. They also found the remains of chicken pieces underground in the oven. They found that the chicken was cooked underground in the clay ovens known as TANDOORS.

The Harapan chicken was cooked in the tandoors with the marination of spices mostly black mustards and other aromatic spices. The use of yogurt was also been common while cooking underground chicken.

In the 1940s the tandoori chicken was cooked in Moti Mahal restaurants and it spread throughout the world like a fire. This dish was also a part of Pakistani cuisine before the division of the sub-continent.


Kundal Lal Gujral and Kundan Lal jagga are the inventors of tandoori chicken. Kundal Lal Gujral is also known as FATHER OF BUTTER CHICKEN. He is also a founder of Moti Mahal Restaurant. He invented three famous dishes :

  • Butter chicken
  • Daal makhani
  • Tandoori chicken


This dish was originated in India in 1940. This dish was popular in the world and also be a part of many national cuisines of the countries.

This dish is popular in different regions of the world

  • Pakistan
  • India
  • Bangladesh
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • British
  • United Arab emirates
  • Middle east


Street food is the food sold by hawkers and it is the ready-to-eat food items. This can be any regular meal or the specific meal. This could be daily routine rice and curry or the snacks like chaat, samosa, Tikki, etc. In Pakistan, everything in the food items is sold as street food in a very casual style. These tandoori chicken is also be sold as a street food item. These are prepared before and just warm up to make it fresh and serve with naan and chutney.

In street food, tandoori chicken is served with a few side elements like sauce, salad, bread, achar, and lemon, etc. There is also s fried version of tandoori chicken sold in Pakistan in which the marination of tandoori chicken is made and then the chicken is fried or either steamed. This is obviously not the original and traditional tandoori chicken cooking method.


Originally tandoor is the clay oven used by old and ancient people to make bread and other dishes. Tandoor is mostly an underground clay oven but now this is also be made up of metal and other raw materials. The origin of this dish, Tandoori chicken was inspired by tandoor.

Tandoor is also called TANUR. This is burned by using charcoal or wood. The temperature is regulated by using the amount of wood or charcoal for cooking. This is the most dangerous way to cook because of the size and the amount of heat produced. The temperature of the tandoor is around 480 degrees of celsius.

There are some clay pots that used to be placed in the tandoor for cooking dishes with liquid consistency like gravies and sauces. The bread is cooked by placing them on the sides or walls of the tandoor. Tandoor was used by many regions as their ancient stoves and cooking area.


  • Afghani tandoor
  • Azerbaijani Tandir
  • Turkmen Tamdyr
  • Armenian Tonir
  • Punjabi Tandoor



Chicken is the traditional and original meat used to make this dish. Chicken in any size and any form be cooked by this method and marination. Usually, chicken thighs are used to make tandoori chicken. A whole chicken is also be used in this recipe.

There are some cuts of chicken pieces in which the marination is made and this recipe is followed. This same marination is used in many other dishes and using other cooking styles like frying and steaming. This is also be cooked by barbeque and roasting. Because in the house we do not have nay tandoor so the alternative way to cook this dish is using any of the cooking methods.

Size of chicken pieces

  • Small boneless chicken pieces
  • Chicken thighs
  • Chicken Breast pieces
  • Chicken whole piece



Tandoori masala is a very spicy and aromatic mix of spice and herb powder. This is the special spice mix with the addition of red food color to it. Because tandoori chicken is very red in color because of the spices.

For redness, the use of red Kashmiri chilies is important. There are some spices of spice mix tandoori :

  • Cloves
  • Mace
  • Nutmeg
  • Bay leaves
  • Curry powder
  • Star anise
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Kashmiri chilies
  • Black pepper


Yogurt is added to make a thick creamy paste of spices. These are necessary ingredients to place the spices over the chicken. The lactic acid in yogurt also helps to tenderize the chicken and is easy to cook.



Lemon in small wedges is served with tandoori chicken. It is usually served to make it tangy and squeeze fresh lemon juice over the roasted chicken. This is not a necessary part of the dish because some people used to have lemon juice over their chicken tandoori and some do not like to have it.


Chaat masala is a very tangy and spicy spice herb used to be sprinkled over the roast before serving. This is also served with the tandoori chicken to be added by personal choice.


This is a dish served with bread:

  • Sada roti
  • Sada Naan
  • Roghani Naan
  • Khameeri roti
  • Roghani roti
  • Naan
  • Cheese Naan
  • Butter Naan
  • Butter Naan


  • Green chili chutney
  • Raita
  • Zeera raita
  • Sada Dahi
  • Mint chutney
  • Green chilies salad
  • Onions rings


  • Preparation time : 10 minutes
  • cooking time: 1hour and 40 minutes
  • Total time : 50 minutes


  • Calories : 380
  • protein : 43 grams
  • carbohydrates : 21 grams
  • Fat : 18 grams


  • Whole chicken : 750 grams
  • Yogurt : 250 grams
  • Green chilies paste : 4 tbsp
  • Garlic paste : 4 tbsp
  • Ginger paste : 4 tbsp
  • Lemon juice : 12 tbsp
  • Oil : 1/2 cup


  • Salt : 2 tbsp
  • Kashmiri red chilies : 2 tbsp
  • Red peppers powder : 1 tbsp
  • Star anise : 1
  • Blackpepper powder : 1/2 tsp
  • Nutmeg powder : 1/4 tsp
  • Cumin powder : 2 tbsp
  • Curry powder : 2 tbsp
  • Coriander powder : 2tbsp
  • Turmeric powder : 1 tbsp
  • Fennel seeds powder : 1 tsp
  • Cloves powder : 1/2 tsp
  • Cinnamon stick : 1/2 tsp


  • First of all make cuts over the chicken to make the marination invaginates over the chicken.
  • Now mix all the spices together and made a powder of them.
  • Now add the wet ingredients like oil, yogurt, lemon juice etc.
  • Make a wet mix of all the spices and marinate all the chicken with it.
  • Leave the chicken for 2 hours.
  • Now cook this chicken into the tandoor until brown in color and serve with lemon and masala.
  • Enjoy with naan and sauce.

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