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Delicious Tandoori Chicken Skewers – Smoky BBQ Flavor

15 minutes Cook
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Tandoori chicken is a beloved dish that has its roots in the Indian subcontinent. Traditionally prepared in a tandoor, a clay oven, this method imparts a delightful smoky flavor to the marinated chicken. While the traditional tandoor may not be accessible to everyone, you can recreate that distinct smokiness and flavor in your own backyard with Tandoori Chicken Skewers. These skewers are perfect for a barbecue gathering, offering a unique fusion of Indian spices and a classic BBQ taste.

Historical Context:

Tandoori cuisine has a rich history dating back centuries, originating in the Punjab region of India. The word ‘tandoor’ comes from the Persian word ‘tannūr,’ which means an underground clay oven. Tandoors were used to cook flatbreads like naan and roti, and the method of cooking chicken in them gradually evolved into the now-famous tandoori chicken. It was brought to international attention when Kundan Lal Gujral, the owner of Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi, adapted it by marinating the chicken in yogurt and spices. This delightful fusion of flavors soon became popular worldwide.


1. Marinating the Chicken:

  • In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, tandoori spice mix, lemon juice, minced garlic, grated ginger, salt, and black pepper.
  • Add the chicken pieces to the marinade and coat them evenly.
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight for the best flavor.

2. Skewering the Chicken:

  • After marinating, thread the chicken pieces onto the soaked bamboo skewers, ensuring an even distribution.
  • Leave a little space between the pieces for even cooking.

3. Preparing the Grill:

  • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. You can use a charcoal grill for an even smokier flavor or a gas grill for convenience.

4. Grilling the Skewers:

  • Brush the grill grates with vegetable oil to prevent sticking.
  • Place the chicken skewers on the grill and cook for about 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and slightly charred. The internal temperature should reach 165°F (74°C).
  • Baste the chicken with a bit of vegetable oil during grilling to keep it moist and tender.

5. Garnish and Serve:

  • Once the skewers are cooked to perfection, remove them from the grill.
  • Garnish with lemon wedges and fresh cilantro.
  • Serve your Tandoori Chicken Skewers hot with naan, rice, or your favorite barbecue sides.

These Tandoori Chicken Skewers with a smoky BBQ flavor are a fantastic addition to your grilling repertoire. They blend the vibrant, aromatic spices of traditional tandoori with the beloved smokiness of barbecue, offering a mouthwatering experience that’s sure to be a hit at your next cookout. Enjoy the fusion of flavors and the historical richness of tandoori cuisine in your own backyard!


prep time
2 hours
cooking time
15 minutes
total time
2 hours 15 minutes


  • Large bowl

  • Grill (charcoal or gas)

  • Grill brush

  • Wooden or bamboo skewers (soaked in water)

  • Basting brush

  • Tongs

  • Serving platter


  • 2 pounds (900g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 1 cup plain yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons tandoori spice mix (readily available or prepare your own with a blend of cumin, coriander, paprika, and turmeric)

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 16 bamboo skewers (soak in water for 30 minutes to prevent burning)

  • Vegetable oil for grilling

  • Lemon wedges and fresh cilantro for garnish


Marinate the chicken for 2 hours.
Thread onto soaked skewers.
Preheat and oil the grill.
Grill for 10-15 minutes.
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