Cooking with Colm O'Gorman: Tandoori chicken on the barbecue

A taste of India with super quick flatbread
Cooking with Colm O'Gorman: Tandoori chicken on the barbecue

"Nothing beats cooking over charcoal or an open flame."

I have only relatively recently embraced barbecuing. For years I have dismissed it as inconvenient and impractical. Then when I took part in MasterChef a few years back, I found myself having to cook over charcoal and I got hooked. For some food, nothing beats cooking over charcoal or an open flame.

I also learnt that the secret to perfectly cooked meat and fish is a probe thermometer, an essential tool in any kitchen. I know I keep going on about that in this column and run the risk of turning into a bit of a bore, but this simple and inexpensive kitchen tool transformed my cooking.

This week’s recipe is a dish that is best cooked over charcoal. It can also be cooked in an oven, but the open flame adds a wonderful flavour.

Tandoori chicken is a classic Indian dish cooked in an Indian charcoal oven. This recipe is simple to prepare, but delicious, at least as good as anything you will find from your regular takeaway.

Tandoori chicken with flatbreads and courgette yoghurt

recipe by:Colm O’Gorman

This recipe is simple to prepare, but delicious - at least as good as anything you will find from your takeaway and busrting with spice

Tandoori chicken with flatbreads and courgette yoghurt



Preparation Time

2 hours 0 mins

Cooking Time

40 mins

Total Time

2 hours 40 mins






  • For the chicken:

  • 1 whole chicken or 2kg skinless chicken portions

  • 1 tbsp ground coriander

  • 1 tbsp ground cumin

  • 2 tsp turmeric powder

  • 2 tsp chilli powder

  • 2 tsp garam masala

  • 2 tsp flaky sea salt

  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

  • 1 tbsp grated garlic

  • 200g Greek yoghurt

  • Juice of half a lemon

  • For the courgette yoghurt:

  • 1 large courgette

  • 350g Greek yoghurt

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 1 tsp salt

  • Juice of half a lemon

  • 20ml olive oil

  • ½ tsp cumin seed

  • ½ tsp fennel seed

  • 1 tsp mustard seed

  • 2 dried red chillies

  • A few curry leaves or leaves of fresh basil

  • For the flatbreads:

  • 300g plain flour

  • 300g Greek yoghurt

  • 1tsp salt

  • 2tsp baking powder

  • 20g chopped coriander


  1. Prepare the chicken. I cut a two-kilo chicken into six portions, keeping the drumsticks and thighs together and cutting the breasts into two portions as they were quite large, leaving the lower part of the wing attached. Cut a few slashes into the chicken pieces, across the drumsticks and thighs and the breasts to help get all that lovely flavour into the meat.

  2. In a large bowl, combine the tandoori spices with the yoghurt, lemon juice, garlic, and ginger. Mix it all into a paste and add the chicken, rubbing the paste all over the meat. Cover and marinade for a few hours in the fridge.

  3. Combine all the ingredients for the flatbreads in a mixing bowl or food mixer using a dough hook, until it comes together into a smooth dough. You do not need to knead or proof the dough, just wrap it in some clingfilm and let it sit for at least fifteen minutes before cooking.

  4. Get your barbecue ready. I use a barbecue with a lid and get the temperature to around 175°C before I pop on the chicken. Once I have it on the grill, I close the lid and let it cook for about fifteen minutes before turning the portions over. Get them nicely charred all over, without burning them obviously. Some of the portions will cook quicker than others and parts of the grill will be hotter than others, so use your thermometer to check each portion and move it to a cooler part of the grill when it gets close to 70 Celsius. Your chicken will be perfectly cooked when it is at 74°C. It should take around thirty to forty minutes to cook on a barbecue. You can also cook this in an oven at 180 Celsius, roasting it for forty minutes before checking the temperature and if it is almost ready, flash it under the grill to give it a little char.

  5. While the chicken is cooking, make the courgette yoghurt. Use a box grater to coarsely grate the courgette and blanch it in a pan of boiling water for just two to three minutes. Drain it immediately and rinse well with cold water. Pop the courgette into a clean towel and squeeze out any remaining water. Whisk the yoghurt, sugar, salt, and lemon juice together in a bowl. Add the cooked courgette and combine it well. Set aside until you are ready to serve.

  6. Divide the flatbread dough into six equal portions. Heat a dry pan over a high heat. Roll each ball of dough out into a rough disc about 5mm thick. Brush the top with a little olive oil, or better yet a little garlic infused oil for extra flavour, and put it face down on the hot pan. Cook for about a minute and a half until the surface begins to bubble. Brush the uncooked side with a little more olive oil and flip it over. Cook for another minute. Remove to a warm plate and cook the rest. Stack them on top of each other as you finish them to keep the warm and soft.

  7. When your chicken is ready, put it on a serving platter and scatter with chopped coriander and sliced red chilli, with a lemon cut into wedges on the side. Next, heat a few teaspoons of olive oil in a small pan. Add the spices for the courgette and yoghurt dish, along with the curry or basil leaves. When the mustard seeds start to pop, pour the oil and the tempered spices over the yoghurt dish. This is sharing food, so put everything on the table and have everyone help themselves.

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