If you’re a fan of bold, flavorful dishes that tantalize your taste buds, then you’re in for a treat with the Malaysian Chicken Tandoori Recipe. This iconic dish hails from the vibrant culinary traditions of Malaysia, where the fusion of Malay, Chinese, and Indian influences has given birth to a truly unique and irresistible cuisine. Prepare to embark on a journey of flavors that will transport you to the bustling streets of Kuala Lumpur, where the aroma of fragrant spices and sizzling tandoors fill the air.

Malaysian Chicken Tandoori Recipe

What is Malaysian Chicken Tandoori?

Malaysian Chicken Tandoori is a delectable dish that combines the best of Indian tandoori cooking techniques with the rich and diverse flavors of Malaysian cuisine. At its core, it features succulent pieces of chicken marinated in a complex blend of aromatic spices, yogurt, and other flavorful ingredients, before being grilled to perfection in a traditional tandoor oven or over an open flame.

The result? A dish that boasts a crispy, charred exterior and a moist, juicy interior infused with a harmonious symphony of flavors. From the warmth of cumin and coriander to the tang of yogurt and the heat of chili peppers, each bite is a celebration of Malaysia’s cultural melting pot.

The Origins of Malaysian Chicken Tandoori

While tandoori cooking originated in the Indian subcontinent, the Malaysian version of this dish has evolved to incorporate the country’s unique blend of influences. The use of coconut milk, lemongrass, and shrimp paste – staples in Malay cuisine – lend a distinct and unmistakable flavor profile that sets Malaysian Chicken Tandoori apart from its Indian counterparts.

This fusion of culinary traditions is a testament to Malaysia’s rich cultural diversity, where different ethnic groups have coexisted for centuries, sharing and blending their culinary practices to create something truly special.

The Marinade: The Secret to Flavorful Malaysian Chicken Tandoori

The secret to achieving the perfect Malaysian Chicken Tandoori lies in the marinade. A well-crafted marinade not only infuses the chicken with flavor but also tenderizes the meat, ensuring a juicy and succulent result.

Here are the key ingredients that make up the marinade:

  • Yogurt: Plain yogurt acts as a tenderizer while also providing a tangy base for the other spices to cling to the chicken.
  • Spices: A blend of spices including cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili powder, and garam masala lend warmth, depth, and a touch of heat to the marinade.
  • Lemongrass: Fresh lemongrass imparts a distinct citrusy aroma and flavor that is quintessentially Malaysian.
  • Coconut Milk: The rich and creamy coconut milk adds a subtle sweetness and helps to create a luscious marinade that clings to the chicken.
  • Garlic and Ginger: These aromatics provide a pungent and zesty kick that complements the other flavors beautifully.

The key to a flavorful marinade is allowing the chicken to marinate for several hours, or even overnight, to ensure that the flavors have ample time to penetrate the meat.

Grilling Techniques for Malaysian Chicken Tandoori

While traditional tandoori ovens are not commonplace in most Malaysian households, there are alternative grilling methods that can achieve similar results.

Charcoal Grill or Barbecue One popular method is to grill the marinated chicken over hot charcoal, which imparts a smoky flavor reminiscent of a tandoor oven. To achieve the signature charred exterior, it’s important to grill the chicken pieces over direct heat, turning them frequently to ensure even cooking.

Oven Broiling For those without access to an outdoor grill, oven broiling can also yield excellent results. Simply place the marinated chicken pieces on a broiler pan or baking sheet and broil them under the intense heat of the oven’s top element, turning them occasionally to ensure even browning.

Regardless of the method used, it’s crucial to keep a close eye on the chicken and adjust the heat as necessary to prevent burning while still achieving that coveted char.

Serving and Enjoying Malaysian Chicken Tandoori

Malaysian Chicken Tandoori is best served hot off the grill or straight from the oven, when the flavors are at their most vibrant and the meat is juicy and tender.

To complement the bold flavors of the dish, it’s often accompanied by a variety of dipping sauces and chutneys. A cooling cucumber raita or a tangy tamarind chutney can provide a delightful contrast to the spicy chicken.

For a more substantial meal, Malaysian Chicken Tandoori can be served alongside fragrant basmati rice or warm, pillowy naan bread for soaking up the flavorful juices.

Malaysian Chicken Tandoori: A Celebration of Flavor and Diversity

Malaysian Chicken Tandoori is more than just a dish; it’s a celebration of Malaysia’s rich cultural tapestry, where diverse culinary influences have been woven together to create something truly unique and unforgettable.

With each bite, you’ll experience the warmth of Indian spices, the vibrant flavors of Malay cuisine, and the unmistakable char that comes from traditional tandoori cooking techniques. It’s a culinary journey that will transport you to the bustling streets of Malaysia, where the aromas of spices and sizzling grills beckon you to savor the flavors of this incredible country.

So, gather your ingredients, fire up the grill, and get ready to embark on a flavorful adventure with the Malaysian Chicken Tandoori Recipe. Your taste buds will thank you!

Malaysian Chicken Tandoori Recipe: Ingredients

Before we dive into the step-by-step instructions, let’s gather the ingredients needed to create this mouthwatering dish:

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces (or use a combination of your preferred chicken parts)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon grated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to your desired heat level)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon shrimp paste (optional, for an authentic Malaysian flavor)

Malaysian Chicken Tandoori Recipe: Instructions

Now that we have all the ingredients ready, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of creating this flavorful dish:

  1. Prepare the Marinade: In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, garam masala, chili powder, turmeric, salt, vegetable oil, lemongrass, coconut milk, and shrimp paste (if using). Mix well until a smooth marinade forms.
  2. Marinate the Chicken: Add the chicken pieces to the marinade and massage it into the meat, ensuring each piece is evenly coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
  3. Preheat the Grill or Oven: If using a charcoal grill or barbecue, prepare the coals and let them burn until they’re covered with a light gray ash. If using an oven, preheat the broiler to its highest setting.
  4. Grill or Broil the Chicken: Remove the marinated chicken pieces from the marinade, shaking off any excess. Thread the chicken pieces onto skewers (if using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes beforehand to prevent burning).
      • For the Charcoal Grill or Barbecue: Arrange the skewered chicken pieces over the hot coals, leaving enough space between them for even cooking. Grill for 20-25 minutes, turning occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and has a charred exterior.
      • For Oven Broiling: Place the skewered chicken pieces on a foil-lined baking sheet or broiler pan. Broil for 15-20 minutes, flipping the skewers halfway through, until the chicken is cooked through and has a charred exterior.
  5. Serve and Enjoy: Remove the grilled or broiled chicken from the skewers (if using) and transfer it to a serving platter. Garnish with sliced lemon wedges and chopped cilantro, if desired. Serve hot with basmati rice, naan bread, and your favorite dipping sauces or chutneys.

Enjoy the burst of flavors and the smoky aroma of this authentic Malaysian Chicken Tandoori Recipe!

FAQs about Malaysian Chicken Tandoori

Q: Can I use boneless chicken instead of bone-in pieces?

A: Absolutely! Boneless chicken pieces, such as breasts or thighs, work equally well in this recipe. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly, as boneless pieces tend to cook faster than bone-in pieces.

Q: Can I make this dish in an air fryer?

A: Yes, you can make Malaysian Chicken Tandoori in an air fryer. Simply arrange the marinated chicken pieces in the air fryer basket and cook at 400°F (200°C) for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the chicken is cooked through and has a crispy exterior.

Q: Is it necessary to use shrimp paste in the marinade?

A: While shrimp paste adds an authentic Malaysian flavor to the dish, it is optional. If you prefer to omit it or cannot find it, the dish will still be delicious without it.

Q: Can I use a tandoor oven instead of a grill or oven?

A: Absolutely! If you have access to a traditional tandoor oven, it would be the ideal cooking method for this Malaysian Chicken Tandoori Recipe. Simply follow the same marinating instructions and cook the chicken in the tandoor according to its specific temperature and timing recommendations.

Q: What are some good dipping sauce options to serve with Malaysian Chicken Tandoori?

A: Some popular and complementary dipping sauce options include cucumber raita (a cooling yogurt-based sauce), mint chutney, tamarind chutney, or a spicy cilantro-mint sauce. These sauces help balance the bold flavors of the chicken and add an extra burst of flavor.


The Malaysian Chicken Tandoori Recipe is a true testament to the rich cultural diversity and culinary heritage of Malaysia. By fusing the tandoori cooking techniques of India with the vibrant flavors of Malay cuisine, this dish has become a beloved staple in Malaysian households and restaurants alike.

Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or a curious foodie, this recipe offers an opportunity to embark on a flavorful journey that celebrates the art of spice blending and grilling. From the fragrant marinade to the smoky char, each element of this dish is a celebration of Malaysia’s melting pot of culinary influences.

So, gather your ingredients, fire up the grill or oven, and get ready to transport your taste buds to the bustling streets of Kuala Lumpur. The Malaysian Chicken Tandoori Recipe is a culinary adventure that promises to leave you craving for more with every bite.

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Myra Henry created the Keto Taco Salad blog to share my favorite delicious low-carb recipes without sacrificing flavor. when i started the keto diet 2 years ago, I discovered a love for making healthy Mexican dishes like keto taco salads. My blog features easy keto taco salad recipes and tips for keto success.

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