The Mistake You Need To Avoid When Making Tandoori Chicken

You've rounded up the spices, picked out the chicken (breast or thigh depending upon your preferences; remember, thigh has the most flavor), and started to mix your rub and seasoning — now you are ready to make delicious tandoori chicken. Before you begin coating the meat and mixing sauces for this traditional Western Asian dish, however, we need to fill you in on a common cooking mistake you may be making. Not only can this mistake prevent your tandoori chicken from becoming moist, flavorful, and authentic, but it can make your meal turn out dry and unappetizing. 

To understand how this cooking mistake can ruin the outcome of a tandoori chicken dish, it's essential to understand the meaning and origin of the dish. According to Confessions of a Foodaholic, tandoori's name comes from a traditional oven called a tandoor. Used in India and Bangladesh, this circular clay oven is kept at an extremely high temperature to create a crispy, charred coating with a soft and juicy center.

What you should avoid when cooking tandoori chicken

To ensure your tandoori dish is cooked to perfection, don't make the mistake of cooking it at too low of a temperature. While you may think that a long bake at a low-to-medium temperature will prevent the chicken from drying out, it will do the opposite. 

You may be thinking, without a traditional tandoor oven, can you still make authentic tandoori chicken? The answer is 100% yes! Thankfully, we've discovered a great way to recreate this dish using your very own oven and avoid the mistake of cooking tandoori chicken at too low a heat. We suggest broiling your chicken, which will help create the signature red char you see on traditional tandoori chicken. 

Before broiling your chicken, make sure your meat has reached room temperature. According to NDTV Food, cooking chicken straight from the refrigerator can cause uneven cooking and dry the chicken out (because it's in the oven or broiler for too long). Instead, place the chicken out for five to 10 minutes before cooking (but not over 15 minutes). 

During your broil, your oven should reach 500-550 degrees Fahrenheit, the perfect cooking environment to replicate the heat from a traditional tandoor oven. If you notice the chicken caramelizing slightly, it's fine. Per Confessions of a Foodaholic, while you might think each piece is burning, the darkening in color is actually caramelization, which is what tandoori chicken needs.