Air Fryer Tandoori Chicken in a Curry Gravy

Ok hands up I’ll admit that since I got my air fryer at the end of last year, I’ve been using it a lot. I mean, it’s overtaken most other gadgets in my kitchen except my electric whisk as the most used item! I cannot tell you all how much I love it.

Best of all it’s good for cooking ALL types of food. Sure this recipe is for Air Fried Tandoori chicken (in a curry gravy) but it’s good for so much more than that! Stick around and I’ll tell you more later.

Tandoori chicken thighs in gravy

Back to the Air Fryer Tandoori Chicken

How crispy does that picture above look? Well that’s all down to the air fryer! Oh my it cooks chicken to perfection! Lovely and crisp on the outside but so tender and totally juicy inside. I am a total convert!

But funnily enough this is the first time I have made tandoori chicken in an air fryer. Why did I not think of this before? No idea – it’s so simple, and really quick (if you ignore the marinade time of course!)

Now sure I love tandoori chicken and for a starter this is just perfect. However, for a main course, you might want a bit of rice or naan and in this case, you might also need some curry gravy to really make your meal come together perfectly. Well, luckily I have thought of that. If you want the curry sauce too, check out the second part of the recipe. If not, then just make the tandoori chicken. This recipe does not fail to impress whomever you choose!

Any tips or tricks?

Well yes as it happens, there are!

  • If you want your chicken skin to be super crispy I recommend that after you take it out of the marinade, you sear it skin side down until it starts to brown. If you then transfer to the air fryer, the skin will be much crispier after it’s cooked.
  • Marinade time – sure the minimum time to leave the marinade on the chicken is half an hour but let’s face it, if you want the proper taste of tandoori, you really should leave it overnight or for 8 hours! The flavours need this long to develop and permeate the chicken.
  • Chicken curry gravy – there are a lot of ingredients to the curry gravy, but don’t be alarmed. Most of them can just be put in together so it’s simply a matter of sourcing them beforehand. Sri Lankan/Indian grocers are great but if not, there’s always Amazon! If you have trouble sourcing something, contact me and I’ll see if I can help!
Chicken tandoori ready to serve

Other uses for the Air Fryer

I told you I would fill you in on this right? Well, I have used my air fryer for a myriad of recipes, from donuts to okra!

If you fancy some air fried Chinese style tofu, some air fryer donuts or some crispy Indian spiced okra, just click on the links – you can thank me later 😉

And if you want to know anything else about air frying, just ask me!

In the meantime, here’s the recipe for you finally! Enjoy and please come back to rate it! 🙏🏻

Tandoori chicken thighs in gravy

Air Fried Tandoori Chicken in a Curry Sauce

Tandoori chicken marinated thighs perfectly cooked in the air fryer and then immersed in a delicious curry gravy.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
marinating time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Main Course, Starter
Cuisine Asian, Indian, Sri Lankan
Servings 12 thighs



Tandoori chicken

  • 12 chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp crushed/grated garlic
  • 1 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder other chilli powder is fine too
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 juice of one lime
  • 2 tbsp vegetable/rapeseed oil
  • 3-4 tbsp natural yoghurt

For the thick curry gravy

  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 thumb ginger grated
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 2 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 inch pandan leaf optional
  • 1 tsp chilli powder optional
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 150ml coconut milk plus water depending on what consistency needed
  • ½ juice of lime


  • Add all the dry ingredients to a large bowl. THen add the yoghurt, oil, ginger, garlic and lime juice. Mix together.
  • Wash and dry the chicken thighs. Make 2-3 slits into the flesh through the skin on each thigh.
  • Add the chicken thighs to the marinade making sure that each piece is thoroughly coated. Cover and set aside.
  • Leave for as long as possible, preferably overnight although at a minimum for 30 minutes (if overnight, then refrigerate).
  • An hour before cooking, remove chicken from fridge.
  • For extra crispy skin, sear the chicken pieces in a frying pan with a little spray of cooking oil.
  • Spray the air fryer with cooking oil before lining with the chicken, skin side down. Make sure there is space around each chicken piece for the air to circulate. You may need to cook the chicken in two batches depending on how large your air fryer is.
  • Air fry at 180°C for 9 minutes.
  • Meanwhile make a start on the curry gravy. Put some oil in a large pan. Add some black mustard seeds and let them splutter when the oil gets hot. At this point add a handful of curry leaves and the pandan leaf, and leave for 5-10 seconds.
  • Add the chopped onions, garlic and ginger to the pan and sauté everything together for 5-10 minutes.
  • After 9 minutes, when the air fryer alerts you, open the drawer and turn the pieces over in the air fryer. Air fry again for 9-10 minutes.
  • By now the onions should have softened. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir in before adding all the remaining spices and once cooked through, pour in the coconut milk. Turn the heat down to a low simmer.
  • After 10 minutes, (back to the air fryer) use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the thickest part of the chicken. It should be at least 74°C. If it's not there yet, continue to air fry until this temperature is reached – maybe 1-2 minutes more. Then remove chicken from air fryer.
  • By now the curry gravy should be done. If it thickens too much in consistency add some hot water to thin out a little. Add the lime juice, tasting all the time and adjust to your taste. At this point, add more salt if needed.
  • Add the chicken thigh pieces to the curry but don't completely submerge. Keep the crispy skin exposed above the gravy. Leave simmering for another 5 minutes and then your tandoori chicken in curry gravy is done!
    Overhead shot of tandoori chicken thighs in gravy
Keyword Air fried chicken, Air fryer, indian, Spiced, tandoori
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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  1. adrian
    January 18, 2022 / 5:17 pm

    5 stars
    Mouthwatering – gave the new air fryer an outing and……

    • Anusha
      January 18, 2022 / 7:03 pm

      And I hope you liked it!!

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