Spicy Tandoori Chicken Recipe and Wine Pairing

Close your eyes… Well, maybe finish reading this first, then close your eyes! You are riding in a tuk-tuk down a bustling street somewhere in India. You see an elephant and a man dressed in a fancy suit riding a horse. He’s surrounded by people dancing – is that a wedding celebration? You hear car horns honking. There’s a cow blocking traffic, but she sure isn’t fazed by any honking horns. You can feel the humid air tickle your cheeks and flick your hair, but THAT SMELL! Even in all of the chaos, it is all you can focus on. So your driver takes you there. He drops you in front of a clay oven, a tandoor, where a man is cooking the fragrant spicy chicken that you had sniffed from down the street. This is where your adventure really begins.

Tandoori chicken is probably not a dish that you would instinctively pair with red wine, or any wine really. It is white meat and spicy, but with everything in this world, there are always exceptions to the rules. So, throw the “rules” out the window for a moment and give your taste buds something to savour by pairing this Tandoori Chicken recipe with a fruity Pinot Noir. Serve your chicken with a yoghurt raita or green chutney. We promise: that rules are meant to be broken.

Spicy Tandoori Chicken Recipe and Wine Pairing

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by WineCollective Course: AppetizersCuisine: Punjabi, IndianDifficulty: Easy
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Prep time


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Marination Time


hours min.

Traditionally cooked in a tandoor, or clay oven, this dish is made by grilling and charring chicken that is marinated in yoghurt and spices until it is tender, moist and cooked through.


  • 1 Tbsp paprika

  • 1 Tbsp garam masala

  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin

  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander

  • ½ Tsp ground turmeric

  • ½ Tsp cayenne pepper (use ¼ teaspoon for less heat)

  • 3 Tbsp peeled and roughly chopped fresh ginger

  • 7 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

  • ¼ cup whole milk Greek yoghurt

  • Zest and juice from one lime (about 1 teaspoon zest and 2 tablespoons juice)

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

  • Tsp salt

  • 12 chicken drumsticks (about 4 pounds)

  • A few sprigs cilantro, optional for garnishing the platter

  • Lime wedges, optional, for serving


  • In a small pan over medium-low heat, combine the paprika, garam masala, cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Roast, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes, until the spices are fragrant.
  • Add the spices to a blender or mini food processor, along with the ginger, garlic, Greek yoghurt, lime zest and juice, oil and salt. Process until smooth.
  • Using a knife, make 2 or 3 slashes in each drumstick (be careful, they are slippery). Place the drumsticks in a large bowl and toss them with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  • Arrange the chicken on the oven rack, leaving space between the pieces. Brush half of the leftover marinade in the bowl evenly over the drumsticks.
  • Roast for 45 minutes, turning once midway through to baste again until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through.
  • Turn on the broiler and broil the chicken for 3-5 minutes, until lightly charred and crisp all over.
  • Enjoy with some yoghurt raita and green chutney

Wine Pairings

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Want to continue to challenge wine tasting norms and explore the world of spice and wine pairing? Join us as we continue our journey down the spicy road, next stop: is South Korea. Try out this red hot jjamppong recipe next!

If you are feeling spicy, join WineCollective today. You’ll get a selection of curated wines that are only available to WineCollective members delivered to your door each month, accompanied by wine pairing suggestions so that you can continue to explore new and exciting flavour experiences.