Spicy Indian Chicken Recipe (2024)

Recipe from Madhur Jaffrey

Adapted by Robert Farrar Capon

Total Time
50 minutes, plus 3 hours' stand
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Yield:6 servings

  • 1tablespoon ground cumin seeds
  • 1tablespoon paprika
  • teaspoons cayenne pepper, or to taste (if you use less, increas paprika to make up for it)
  • 1tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1 to 1½teaspoons pepper
  • 2teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 2 to 3cloves garlic, minced
  • 6tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6leg-thigh pieces of chicken, skinned and cut apart
  • 3tablespoons vegetable oil

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)

274 calories; 21 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 11 grams monounsaturated fat; 4 grams polyunsaturated fat; 4 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram dietary fiber; 1 gram sugars; 17 grams protein; 274 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Spicy Indian Chicken Recipe (1)


  1. Step


    Combine cumin seeds, paprika, cayenne pepper, turmeric, pepper, salt, garlic and lemon juice and mix into a paste.

  2. Step


    Rub chicken pieces with the paste until well coated and allow to stand, covered with plastic wrap, for three hours or longer.

  3. Step


    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the chicken pieces in a baking pan, brush with the oil and bake 20 minutes. Turn the pieces over and bake 20 to 25 minutes more, basting occasionally.

  4. Step


    Remove chicken pieces to a warm serving platter. Add water, if necessary, to the baking pan and stir over a high heat until the sauce is somewhat reduced. Pour sauce over chicken and serve with rice pilaf.



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Howard Dinin

Upped the hot spice to 2 tsp., but because I find cayenne a bit too aggressive and with fewer distinguishable flavor notes, I substituted a 1tsp of Aleppo pepper for the cayenne. May try it with Piment d'Espelette, for even more character, and subtler heat. This recipe also works with two healthy sized whole breasts, skinned and boned, and cut into thirds on the bias, providing six portions. Finally, 2 Tbsp. of oil should be sufficient. Recipe should note that a metal or range-top pan is best.


The amount of rub seemed too little for so much chicken (huge thighs). I doubled everything and it was pronounced perfect and delicious, with requests to make it again soon. Served with saffron rice, minted yogurt and naan. Having it tonight with Indian spinach, yogurt and naan. Started a little late, will cook it after two hours since someone wrote it worked well after only 15 minutes. Also, am making it with skin on this time - will make another note if it is less than great.


This is great on the grill. I used skinless, boneless chicken thighs because they were on sale and cooked at medium high temp for around 15 min +/- to instant read 170 F. Served with basmati rice and Martha Rose Shulman's Cucumber Salad with Soy, Ginger and Garlic. Nice combination although I'll back off a bit on the garlic next time I serve them together.

Penni Gladstone

400 degrees was a bit too hot. Chicken seemed a bit dried out. I may choose 400 for the first 20 min then 350 for then next 20. As suggested I used less salt, and I used a bit less on the cayenne. It was spicy anyhow.Also, not much juice in pan to baste with, so lowing the temp could work well.Made wild rice with onions, cardamon, a touch of cinnamonDelicious


This dish has great flavor. I used thighs with the skin and used convection to crisp it.


I agree with the salt comment- you could start with 1 -1.5 tsp in the spice mix and then add more at the table. I used ghee instead of veg oil.

Great on the grill!


Start conservatively on the salt. Otherwise. Wonderful!


This was delicious. I followed this recipe fairly closely, but not verbatim. First, I used boneless skinless breasts. I get chicken from a butcher, but the breast meat was very tender and flavorful. I kept cooking time the same. Second, I did not let the chicken marinade for 3 hours. More like 15 minutes. Didn't matter. Absolutely full of flavor. I also skipped the oil and the basting. Flipped once at 20 min. Just fine. Thank you. This was tasty! Will definitely make again.


I made this dish exactly per the recipe. It was flavorful and moist. I served it with rice and curried vegetables. Although it wasn't specifically stated, the covered chicken with rubbed spices should be stored in the refrigerator, not on the counter.

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Spicy Indian Chicken Recipe (2024)
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