Tandoori-style marinade leads to tender, boldly seasoned grilled chicken

Ellie Krieger

THE WASHINGTON POST – The words “healthy, grilled chicken” can usually cause a bored yawn, but this recipe goes against that reputation with a captivating tapestry of spice and luscious tenderness that makes you want to dance around the house. kitchen, or at the very least burst into the hands of jazz.

The dish gets its bold flavor from a blend of Indian tandoori-style spices and aromatics – ginger, garlic, cumin, cilantro, turmeric, paprika, and crushed red chili – which are swirled in a food processor with a bunch of cilantro. fresh, lemon juice and oil to form a pesto-like marinade. After three (or up to ten) hours of marinating, the chicken is infused with an exciting flavor.

With the marinade still hanging, the chicken is then placed on a grill or grill pan, finishing off boldly seasoned, moist and tender, and given a gorgeous deep emerald color to boot. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs here because their richer taste not only balances the intensity of the marinade, but also helps the meat to dry out on the grill, but you can definitely substitute for the chicken breast. skinless and boneless, if you prefer.

Finished with a crisp spritz of lemon juice and a shower of fresh cilantro, this is a delicious dish that just might change your mind about healthy grilled chicken for good.


Activity time: 35 minutes | Total time: 35 minutes, plus 3 to 10 hours of marinating time

Four servings

This dish defies the boring reputation of healthy grilled chicken with bold flavor and color from a pesto-like marinade made with an Indian tandoori-style spice blend stirring with fresh cilantro, lemon juice and lemon juice. ‘oil.

The chicken is grilled with the marinade still clinging to it, which not only coats it with aromatic seasonings and a beautiful deep emerald hue, but also keeps the meat moist and tender during cooking. Serve with a green salad.

Make Ahead: Chicken should marinate for at least three hours and up to 10 hours before grilling.

Storage Notes: Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to three days.


Three garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped peeled fresh ginger or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

One and a quarter cup of fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems (about 1 ounce), plus more for garnish

Two tablespoons of neutral oil such as grape seed, avocado or canola, plus more for brushing the pan

A tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

A tablespoon of water

Half a teaspoon of ground cumin

Half a teaspoon of ground coriander

Half teaspoon of ground turmeric

Half a teaspoon of paprika

Half teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes

Half teaspoon of kosher salt

Half a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

One and a half pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Lemon wedges, for serving


In the bowl of a food processor, combine the garlic and fresh ginger (if using) until very finely chopped. Add the cilantro, oil, lemon juice, water, ground ginger (if using), cumin, cilantro, turmeric, paprika, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and Puree until fairly even, stopping to lower sides as needed; the cilantro will look like tiny confetti.

In a shallow rimmed dish or plastic zippered bag, toss chicken with marinade and toss to coat. Cover the dish with a large plate or seal the bag and refrigerate for at least three hours and up to 10 hours.

When you’re ready to cook, prepare your gas or charcoal grill for direct heat cooking or preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush the grates with oil. Place the chicken, with the marinade still attached, on the grill or drip pan and reduce the heat to medium.

Cook, without moving the chicken, until cooked through and developing grill marks, five to seven minutes. Flip the chicken and repeat with the other side; the temperature should read 165 on an instant-read thermometer.

Divide the chicken between plates, garnish with lemon and cilantro wedges and serve.

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