Welcome to the latest issue of The Chargrill Chat newsletter.

What’s in this issue?

  • Tandoori Style Food On The Barbecue
  • Tandoori Chicken
  • Tandoori Chutney
  • Tandoori Naan Bread
  • Searing – Does It Really Seal In The Juices?

Tandoori Style Food On The Barbecue

One of my favourite types of food is Indian cuisine. So being able to make Indian style food on the barbecue appeals greatly to me.

Tandoori food is traditionally made in a clay oven called a tandoor. Meat is placed on long oversized metal skewers and placed through the top of the tandoor with the tip of the skewer touching the bottom where the charcoal is smouldering. The heat inside the tandoor sears the surface of the meat, while the metal skewers conduct the heat through the inside of the food. Cooking the meat simultaneously on both the inside and the outside.

Naan bread is cooked by slapping the dough mixture onto the side of the tandoor. It cooks has it hangs down from the inside of the tandoor, forming into a teardrop shape.

Tandoori food can easily be cooked on a barbecue grill and you’ll achieve very similar results as obtained using a tandoor.

It’s normal for tandoori food to be slightly seared black on some of its edges. This is caused by the intense heat inside the tandoor.

The three recipes below make a good start to cooking tandoori style on your barbecue.

Tandoori Chicken

Practically every Indian restaurant offers tandoori chicken. The secret behind this succulent tandoori chicken dish lies in the long marinade in yogurt with spices. The coloring used to achieve the distinctive tandoori color is achieved using alkanet root. This is not readily available and so food coloring powder is used to achieve a similar result. Use either red, orange or yellow.

Serves: 6

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Marinating time: 24 hours

Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • 6 large chicken legs
  • 4 tablespoons of lime or lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of salt


  • 9 fl oz (265ml) of yoghurt
  • 3 tablespoons of mustard oil
  • 9 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1.5 teaspoons of salt
  • 2.5 teaspoons of paprika
  • 2.5 teaspoons of ground coriander
  • 2.5 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 1.5 teaspoons of ground ginger
  • 0.5 teaspoons of food coloring powder (red, orange or yellow)

    1. Skin the chicken and slash the flesh with short gashes. Place in a shallow dish and rub the lemon or lime juice, and salt, into the flesh. Leave for about half an hour.

    2. Mix all of the other ingredients together and rub thoroughly into the chicken. Cover and leave to stand overnight in refrigerator.

    3. Place the marinated chicken over medium hot coals and grill for about 25 to 30 minutes until cooked. Turning occasionally and basting with any remaining marinade.

    4. Serve on a bed of lettuce and onion rings with a wedge of lemon. Accompanied with naan bread and tandoori chutney.

    Tandoori Chutney

    Tandoori chutney is to be found in every tandoori restaurant. It is easy to make and goes well with barbecue tandoori dishes.

    Serves: 6

    Preparation time: 10 minutes

    • 6fl ounces (175ml) of yoghurt
    • 1.5 teaspoons of fresh chopped mint
    • 1.5 teaspoons of lemon juice
    • 0.5 teaspoons of garam masala
    • pinch of green food coloring powder
    • pinch salt
    • pinch sugar

    1. Mix all of the ingredients together and serve.

    Tandoori Naan Bread

    Tandoori naan bread is the traditional accompaniment to tandoori dishes. It’s traditional teardrop shape is achieved because they elongate as they hang inside a tandoor while cooking.

    Serves: 4

    Preparation time: 10 minutes. Plus 2 hours standing time, or overnight if possible.

    Cooking time: 15 minutes

    • 1 teaspoon of dried yeast, or 0.5 ounces (15g) of fresh
    • 1 pound (450g) of strong, plain white bread flour
    • 1 pound (450g) of white bread self-raising flour
    • 3.5fl ounces (95ml) 0f yoghrt


  • 2 teaspoons of sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of wild onion seeds

    Mash the fresh yeast in a little tepid water until it makes a runny paste. Leave in a warm place for 5 to 10 minutes to froth. If using dried, mix with a little sugar and dissolve both in a little tepid water for about 15 minutes. Put the plain and self-raising flours into a warm bowl, make a well in the centre and add the yeast and the yoghurt, mix well adding small amounts of tepid water as required. You need a soft, not too wet dough that leaves the sides of the bowl clean. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and knead vigorously. Then put back into the bowl, cover with a damp cloth and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight if possible, to allow the dough to rise. After rising, remove from the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to return to room temperature. Divide the dough into 6 pieces and roll into oblongs. For a more authentic shape, form into teardrops. Do not roll the dough thinner than 0.25 inch (6.0mm). Prick all over with a fork to prevent the dough from rising too much while grilling. Brush both sides of the dough with vegetable oil and immediately grill the first side over a high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Turn over and cook the other side for 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle the top with the seed mixture while the bottom is cooking. Dark patches will form whilst cooking, but take care not to let it burn. Serve immediately, as the tandoori naan bread does not keep well.

    Please try out our other tandoori recipes for:

    • Boti Kebab (Lamb)
    • Tandoori Murgh Hariali (Green Tandoori)
    • Tandoori Fish

    You can find them listed on The Barbecue Hut Recipes Index page.

    Searing – Does It Really Seal In The Juices?

    How many times have you been advised to sear the surfaces of meat to seal in the juices? This is commonly stated in lots of barbecue grill recipes.

    George Dudley Warbeck from Oakville, Canada wrote in to say that this is a common misconception and that searing the meat does not seal in the juices at all. George kindly transcribed a section of a book by Harold McGee, On Food And Cooking, that goes into great detail about this. I’m carrying out my own research now and would love to receive any comments that you have about this. Feel free to e-mail me.

    I’ll publish my findings in a future newsletter.


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