The Indian Guide to Marinating Chicken

November 20, 2020

It is safe to say that chicken is one of the most popular meats used in Indian cuisine, particularly when it comes to western imitations, as the meat is incredibly versatile and easy to cook with. Here at Royal Nawaab, our chefs marinate our chicken prior to the cooking process in order to ensure that each bite is bursting with flavour and leaves you longing for more. Read on as we explain how traditional Indian cooks marinate their chicken…


There are a variety of different ingredients that are used in a traditional Indian marinade and they can differ depending on the dish that is being cooked as spicier curries tend to utilise ingredients with a bit more of a kick. Here are the most common spices used in an Indian chicken tandoori marinade:

  • Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 tbsp butter or ghee
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • Salt
  • Pepper

The Method

Start by removing the skin from your chosen pieces of chicken, whether it be the breast, thigh or leg, and wash them in a strainer. Use a sharp knife to make incision like-lines that score the meat but don’t cut it into separate pieces; this ensures that the marinade is able to infuse deeply. After this, combine the ingredients listed above in a bowl until they make a smooth paste. Coat the chicken generously in the marinade and cover it with plastic wrap in order to prevent air from escaping or entering.

Traditionally, chicken should be allowed to marinate for 8-10 hours in a refrigerated area, but should be removed 30 minutes before you intend to start cooking in order to remove the chill and bring it up to room temperature. Finally, cook the chicken as desired in order to create a tasty and tender dish bursting with authentic Indian flavour.

Chicken is not the only meat that can be marinated as the process is simply carried out in order to give the spices the chance to infuse into the meat and give acidic ingredients like yogurt and lemon the chance to tenderise it. After all, you don’t need to be a professional chef to taste the difference between marinated and unmarinated chicken! For all your cooking expertise, get in contact with the best restaurant Manchester has to offer and speak to a member of the Royal Nawaab team today!