Air Fryer Tandoori Chicken
Tandoori Chicken is a widely popular Indian dish where marinated chicken is grilled to juicy perfection. When the Tandoori chicken is made in an air fryer it becomes, even more, healthier and easier to make!
Tandoori Chicken is
- popular worldwide
- easy to make
- ideal appetizer
- perfect, juicy, tender chicken
- low-carb, keto, and gluten-free
- have no artificial colors added
- leftovers can be added to wraps, pull apart sliders, tortillas, quesadillas, or butter chicken
What is Tandoori Chicken?
Tandoori Chicken is a popular Indian dish that is prepared by marinating chicken pieces in a yogurt-based marinade which is then grilled in a tandoor or clay oven. This chicken is grilled to juicy perfection and thanks to the tandoor, it will have a distinct smoky flavor and nice char coating on it too.
Most Indian restaurants make use of this high-heat clay tandoor for most tandoor recipes - be it tikkas, kababs, or naans. Restaurant Tandoor Ovens are a vertical clay pot that reaches high temperature in short amount of time and can remain hot for long periods of time as well.
Since it isn't viable to have a traditional tandoor in most homes, you either cook tandoor dishes in an oven or make use of a Gas Tandoor Oven.
What Makes Tandoori Chicken Tender
The marinade is what makes the chicken juicy and tender. The special spiced yogurt marination makes all the difference and it results in finger-licking delicious chicken.
The chicken is marinated in spices, yogurt, and lemon juice where the latter two helps in tenderizing the chicken and thus helping in absorbing maximum flavor of the spices into the chicken.
Yogurt has a special component called lactic acid which helps in breaking down the meat proteins and making the chicken soft and tender. It could have an adverse effect too if you keep the chicken marinated for too long as the chicken would then be too mushy and squashy.
Ideally, let the chicken sit in the marinade for up to 8 to 10 hours and not more.
I usually marinate the chicken by noon so that it is just perfectly tender when I go for the preparation at about 7 in the evening.
Why is Tandoori Chicken Red in Color?
In restaurants, edible red food color is added to the marinade to get the desired vibrant red color for the tandoori chicken. But I haven't used any food color in this recipe and I could still achieve the classic red color in my chicken.
A perfect blend of Kashmiri Red Chili powder, Turmeric and Paprika will help create this color.
What are the Ingredients for Tandoori Chicken?
Making Tandoori Chicken in an Air Fryer is fairly easy. If you have a well-equipped Indian pantry, this is just a piece of cake. Even if not, you can easily get hold of these spices in any Indian store.
Chicken: Here I have used whole bone-in chicken legs including the thighs. You may choose only the drumsticks or legs, or even a whole chicken for making tandoori chicken. If you are using only chicken breasts, keep in mind that boneless chicken dries out faster. So the cooking time is much lesser.
For the First Marinade:
- Ginger-Garlic Paste: You can use store-bought ginger-garlic paste or mince some ginger and garlic. However, do not substitute with garlic or ginger powder.
- Lemon Juice: Use freshly squeezed lemon juice.
For the Second Marinade:
- Hung Curd: Use full-fat hung curd for this recipe. To make hung curd at home, strain about 1.5 to 2 cups of regular curd for an hour in a strainer or tied in a muslin cloth. This will yield one cup of thick hung curd.
You may also use plain, unflavored, Greek Yogurt as well.
- Kashmiri Red Chili Powder, Turmeric Powder, and Paprika: A perfect blend of Kashmiri Red Chili powder, Paprika, and Turmeric powder gives the desired vibrant hue to the tandoori chicken.
Kashmiri Red Chili powder is less spicy than regular red chili powder. It is has a bright red color and when combined with paprika, it makes the dish only mildly spicy.
If you'd like a spicier tandoori chicken, use regular red chili powder. Also, the addition of yogurt makes the chicken less spicy.
I also use only a pinch of turmeric powder, so that the crimson red isn't lost from the main dish.
- Garam Masala Powder: You can use homemade or storebought garam masala powder.
- Dry Mango Powder or Aamchur Powder: Dry Mango Powder adds a zing to the chicken. It is mildly sweet and sour and is used as a citrusy seasoning. However, you may also use cumin powder.
- Kasturi Methi: Dry Fenugreek Leaves is a beautiful herb with a brilliant aroma and taste. Crush the leaves between the palms of your hands before adding them to the marinade. This helps release its flavor more.
How to Make Tandoori Chicken in Air Fryer
Tandoori Chicken is popular worldwide. You can also make tandoori in an oven, grill in a barbecue, fry on a stovetop too.
But what if I say, you can get perfect tandoori chicken in an air fryer too? That too in just under 15-20 minutes?
- To make Air fryer Tandoori Chicken, let's marinate the chicken first. For the first marination, add a tablespoon each of ginger garlic paste and lemon juice, and some salt. Mix well and keep aside for at least 15-30 minutes.
- For the second marination, add hung curd, Kashmiri red chili powder, Paprika, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, and dry mango (aamchur) powder, along with a tablespoon of oil. Mix well and keep aside for 5-6 hours.
- Tandoori Chicken in air fryer temperature: Preheat the air fryer to 200 C or 390 F for 5 minutes.
- Can you put raw chicken in an air fryer? Place the marinated chicken in air fryer basket. Do not overcrowd.
- Do you have to flip chicken in Airfryer? Air fry for about 15 minutes. After the 10-minute mark, remove the basket and flip the drumsticks. Cook for the remaining 5-7 minutes. Flipping the chicken is the same as rotating or turning the chicken in an oven. It helps in even cooking.
Can I open air fryer while cooking? It is perfectly safe to open the air fryer basket if you need to check, flip the content, or shake the basket during the cooking process.
- Cook the chicken pieces in batches and repeat the process.
How To Smoke Tandoori Chicken in Air fryer
- Once all the chicken pieces are cooked, add them back to the air fryer basket.
- To smoke the chicken for a traditional tandoori flavor, place a live coal piece in a steel bowl and keep in the air fryer basket along with the cooked chicken.
- Drizzle a teaspoon of ghee and cover immediately when smoke arises.
- Let it remain for about 5 minutes.
Tandoori Chicken in Air Fryer Recipe:Print
Serve Tandoori Chicken with Mint Chutney (2 Ways).
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