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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 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
marinating time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
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
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