Roasted Tandoori Chicken

Whole roasted tandoori chicken over rice with raita and naan
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Warm spices like ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and cumin mixed with yogurt make the marinade for this simple whole tandoori roast chicken. 

Roasted Tandoori Chicken

A whole chicken roasting in the oven fills your house with both the scent of warm spices and the peace that comes with knowing that tonight’s dinner is going to be extra delicious. So, what’s as feel-good as knowing you’re about to serve up a dinner that’s sure to please? It’s knowing that the yogurt you so carefully coated that very chicken with came from an organic farm in upstate Vermont where the leaves are changing, the cows are healthy, and the farmers are something straight out of a fairytale you’d read to your kids. Stonyfield, we are in love. 

long dirt road on a grassy farm with blue skies

Why Should You Go Organic? 

Here at TMP, we try our best to choose organic or sustainable foods for all of our recipe testing. It just always seemed like an easy step towards overall health, but it wasn’t until a recent trip to Vermont that we truly understood the answer to “why organic?”. 

The word organic refers to a way of producing food. In its essence it is the elimination of toxic persistent pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, GMO’s, artificial growth hormones and antibiotics. This style of farming uses nature to give back to the earth and animals by use of crop rotation, cover crops and beneficial insects. Organic livestock are fed exclusively organic feed, hay or feed, maintaining conditions that support the natural behavior of the animal. 

Way back in the 1980’s, environmental enthusiasts and entrepreneurial genius’ Samuel Kaymen and Gary Hirshberg started making organic yogurt in an effort to support their organic farming school in New Hampshire. The yogurt was so good it launched them into the building of Stonyfield.  In doing so, they quickly began paving the way for generations of farmers to move away from conventional, industrial farming and move towards organic farming. Today all of the organic milk in Stonyfield’s products come from family farms with small herds, averaging 75-90 cows. I’ll spare all the details of exactly how Stonyfield got to where it is today, but if you have a minute I highly recommend this episode of the podcast How I Built This.

Over the course of three days I, Natalie, had the privilege of touring a few of the farms that are a part of the Stonyfield family of farms. Picture rolling hills of thick green grass dotted with healthy cows. Imagine farmers singing almost a song to call their cows, while their kids run behind them chasing chickens. On one of our farms we saw three generations of farmings giving their heart to quality dairy. On another farm got to hear all about the transition of the farm going to a young couple who is equal in passion as the farmers that had sustained land for years. You can feel it in the air—Stonyfield is farming done right.  Beyond the picturesque scenery, here are a few things that might surprise you about not just these farms but all organic farms:

  • Organic farms reduce CO2 emissions by giving back to the soil. How do they do this? Excuse me while I nerd out for a minute. On a farm that practices diversified farming, waste from the animals is repurposed daily onto fields that are filled with a variety of greens that have deep root systems, absorbing the “waste” as fertilizer before it ends up in streams or the atmosphere. And what do they do with these fields of greens? Cow food! 
  • One of the biggest barriers for conventional farmers who are thinking of  making the switch to organic farming practices is the fact that certified organic farms are not allowed to treat sick animals with antibiotics of any kind. This means that a sick cow that cannot be treated could represent a huge loss for the farmer, particularly on smaller farms who are often dealing with very tight margins. However, we learned at Stonyfield that making the transition to organic farming practices that emphasize responsible stewardship of both the land and the animals who live on it often means healthier, happier animals and they actually find the need for antibiotics to be greatly reduced compared to conventional, industrial farming. 

Happier animals, happier environment, happier farmers. So why not buy organic? We know that for a lot of people, the answer to that question is simple: the cost.  So after asking Stonyfield founder Gary Hirschberg what to tell the consumer that feels that they can’t afford organic? Simple! He said try choosing just one thing to always buy organic, and together we can change the course of the farming industry. The more we buy, the more efficient it will be for farmers and companies to bring organic products to the market, bringing down the cost. We’re all in this together, right? 

So enough about farming, let’s talk about this feel-good roast chicken that belongs on your weekly rotation. 

tandoori chicken on a platter with naan, white rice and raita

What is Tandoori Chicken? 

A tandoor is a type of coal-fired clay oven that is commonly used for cooking bread—like naan—and meats in Middle Eastern countries, as well as in India. Tender and juicy, our roasted tandoori chicken recipe approximates the smoky heat of a traditional tandoor oven by slowly roasting a whole spatchcocked chicken that’s been slathered it in Indian spices and cooling, creamy Stonyfield whole milk Greek yogurt. Our tandoori-spiced yogurt sauce gets its kick from:  

  • Lemon juice
  • Fresh ginger 
  • Fresh garlic
  • Black pepper
  • Turmeric
  • Chili powder 
  • Cayenne powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Cumin
  • Cilantro
whole raw chicken with spices and fresh herbs and yogurt for tandoori chicken

How to Make Tandoori Chicken in the Oven. 

If you don’t happen to have a tandoor oven lying around at home, you can still make really delicious tandoori chicken! Turns out a regular oven works just fine—after all, it’s really all about that creamy, spicy, tangy yogurt sauce anyway. Here’s how to make a whole roasted tandoori chicken: 

  1. Mix up the Indian tandoori spice and yogurt mixture. 
  2. If you didn’t ask your butcher to do it for you, spatchcock your chicken. (click here to learn how to spatchcock a chicken). 
  3. Using your hands or a pastry brush, coat the whole chicken entirely in the tandoori-seasoned yogurt mixture. 
  4. Lay the whole chicken, with the meaty side up, on a baking sheet—ideally, one that is lined with a cooling rack. This will help the chicken skin to develop a beautiful crispyness that mimics the kind of crispy skin that chicken cooked in a tandoor oven would develop.  
  5. Roast! For a little over an hour. Your spatchcocked, roasted tandoori chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (but not touching bone) reads 165° F. 
whole roasted tandoori chicken on white rice with naan and raita

What To Serve With Tandoori Chicken. 

This whole roasted chicken makes a dramatic centerpiece for a dinner party. With bold flavors and a gorgeous, roasty crispy crust, all it needs are some simple sides. Here are a few of our favorites things to serve with this whole roasted chicken: 

Tools You’ll Need: 

Other Savory Yogurt Recipes: 

From dressings to dips to marinades, we love the rich, tangy quality that whole milk yogurt lends to savory dishes. Here are a few of our favorite recipes with yogurt: 

So, Are You Convinced? 

Let us know if you try this tandoori chicken recipe! Snap a photo of your whole roasted tandoori chicken, and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

This sponsored post is written by TMP on behalf of Stonyfield.​ The opinions and text are all ours. Thank you for supporting the brands we love.​

Roasted Tandoori Chicken

Serves 6

Ingredients

1/2 cup Stonyfield Whole Milk Greek Yogurt
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp ginger, grated or minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cayenne powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1 tbsp salt (adjust to your liking)
1 whole chicken, spatchcocked (cavity parts discarded)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a medium sized bowl combine yogurt along with all herbs and spices. Mix well and coat chicken entirely in yogurt mixture.
  3. Arrange chicken on a baking sheet that is lined with a cooling rack (for extra crispy skin, no worries if you don’t own one).
  4. Bake chicken on center rack for 1 hour 25 minutes or until internal temp of the chicken reads 165°F.
  5. Serve the chicken with fresh cilantro, basmati rice and our favorite recipe for raita.