Chef Aarti Sequeira's Tandoori Chicken

Chef Aarti Sequeira's Tandoori Chicken


  • 2 dried guajillo chiles, or 2 chiles de árbol plus paprika for color
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 2 green cardamom pods, crushed, green husks discarded, black seeds retained
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons malt vinegar or fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup full-fat plain yogurt
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (2inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 12 thighs)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • extra limes, for serving


  1. Toast the whole chiles, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cloves and cardamom seeds in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Throw the toasted spices into a spice grinder and grind them into a fine powder.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together the toasted ground spice mix, cinnamon, paprika, turmeric, cayenne, malt vinegar, salt, yogurt, garlic and ginger. Taste and add more salt if it needs it.
  3. Reserve ⅓ cup of the marinade and set it aside to make a sauce later.
  4. Prick the chicken thighs with a fork and place in the bowl of marinade. Toss to coat. Marinate at room temperature for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight, covered, in the fridge.
  5. When you’re ready to cook the chicken, preheat the broiler, positioning a rack 4 to 5 inches below it. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  6. Place the chicken thighs on the lined baking sheet, making sure each one is coated with the marinade, but isn’t swimming in it. Broil until mottled and starting to blacken, about 7 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF and cook for 10 minutes more, until a meat thermometer inserted in the meatiest part of the thigh registers 160ºF.Remove from the oven.
  7. While the chicken is cooking, pour the reserved ⅓ cup marinade into a small saucepan, along with the water and honey. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-low heat, whisking all the time, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until thickened. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and pour into a small bowl or gravy boat for serving.
  8. Serve the chicken thighs on a platter with slices of lime for squeezing and with the sauce alongside.

Recipe from Aarti’s new cookbook, available at bookstores now: “Aarti Paarti: An American Kitchen with an Indian Soul" href="">Aarti Paarti: An American Kitchen with an Indian Soul" class="">Aarti Paarti: An American Kitchen with an Indian Soul

For more information on Chef Aarti Sequeira, go to