Grilled Chicken Thighs


Tandoori chicken, with its smoky flavor and shocking red color, is as popular in India as fried chicken is in America. Suvir Saran is a fan too, especially of the version he tried at Delhi's Sahara Chicken Palace, with its tangy yogurt marinade seasoned with ginger, garlic and cumin. Saran's not fond of food dye, however, which is why his chicken is a lovely golden brown.

Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs


  • 8 skinless chicken thighs on the bone

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala

  • Melted unsalted butter, for basting


  1. Using a sharp paring knife, make several shallow slashes in each chicken thigh and transfer to a large baking dish. Sprinkle the thighs with the cumin, garlic, ginger and 1 teaspoon of salt and rub the seasonings into the meat. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

  2. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, yogurt, cayenne and garam masala . Pour the mixture over the chicken thighs and turn to coat. Let the chicken stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

  3. Light a grill. Remove the chicken from the marinade, scraping some of it off. Lightly brush the chicken lightly with melted butter and transfer to the grill, buttered side down. Grill the chicken over moderate heat for 22 to 25 minutes, turning and brushing occasionally, until charred in spots and cooked through. Serve right away.

Make Ahead

The chicken can marinate overnight in the refrigerator before grilling.

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