Grilled Tandoori Chicken Patties with Jalapeno-Mint Yogurt Sauce. These Indian-inspired grilled chicken patties are a welcome switch-up from burgers.
This recipe for Grilled Tandoori Chicken Patties with Jalapeno-Mint Yogurt Sauce was also featured on Serious Eats.
I promise that pumpkin recipes are just around the corner and I’m just as excited for them as the next Fall-obsessed food blogger, but we need to pump the brakes for a minute because– at least in my corner of the world– we’ve still got grilling weather. I’m in no rush to move on until next year! I’ll be standing in front of the grill with a spatula in hand until my fingers frost.
And if you’re also riding this grilling train until it breaks down (or the tracks ice over), this recipe for Grilled Tandoori Chicken Patties with Jalapeno-Mint Yogurt Sauce is for you.
You might be burnt out on beef at this point, after a long summer filled with burgers, but these Indian-inspired chicken patties are a new spin that you’re going want to remake as many times as possible before the cold weather kicks in.
(And don’t worry, when it does get cold, you can make these on a grill pan or in the broiler.)
Let me take a quick timeout for those of you who haven’t ever heard of tandoori chicken. Tandoori is a very popular Indian dish that involves chunks of yogurt-and-spice-marinated meat. After marinating, the meat is usually skewered and roasted in a clay oven until slightly charred and cooked through, and then typically served with rice and naan. That clay oven is called a tandoor, by the way, hence the name “tandoori”!
And while I love the usual presentation of tandoori chicken, I usually find myself piling together all of the sections of my plate in the end, creating a makeshift sandwich out of the bits and pieces. Why not combine them all from the get-go?
That’s where these Grilled Tandoori Chicken Patties come in.
What makes them so special? First of all, this recipe, like the original tandoori chicken, involves tossing chicken with yogurt and spices. However, instead of huge chunks, I like to very finely chop (or even grind) mine first. A finer chop means more surface area to coat with the spiced yogurt, so every single little bite is full of flavor, and all of that chicken stays tender and juicy on the grill.
Secondly, the patties are lightly charred when they do make it to the grill, which deepens those flavors and gives an awesome texture to the outside. It’s that texture that makes great burgers great, and these patties are no exception. Not to mention, I love the contrast between the bright yellowy-orange of the patties and the dark brown crust.
Third, they give you an excuse to make another batch of Homemade Garlic Naan. Ah, that naan! I think the only thing I love more than that naan is… well, a sandwich made of that naan, Grilled Tandoori Chicken Patties, some lettuce, tomato, and onion, and Jalapeno-Mint Yogurt Sauce.
And yes, we’ve got to talk about that sauce. It’s got a little bit of a kick thanks to the chopped jalapeno, and it’s also little cooling, like yin and yang. But most importantly, the creaminess makes a big difference in the layered textures of the sandwich. There’s the crust on the patties, the crisp raw toppings, the pillowy naan, and then the smooth sauce to just bring it all together. Mmm.
There’s a lot going on in these sandwiches– juicy grilled chicken patties, a tangy herbed yogurt sauce, and garlicky naan– but all together it works to turn your favorite Indian flavors into a sandwich that is a total hit. So let’s not give up on grilling just yet. I’ve got about a dozen more of these Grilled Tandoori Chicken Patties to make before I’ll even consider it.
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 5 medium cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh peeled ginger
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt, divided
- Juice of 1 lemon, divided
- 1 jalapeño, stemmed and seeded, finely minced
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped, plus more for serving
- Kosher salt
- 4 naan flatbreads, pita, or burger buns
- 1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise into ribbons
- Fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, for serving
- Thinly sliced red onion, sliced tomato, and green lettuce, for serving, if desired
- Cut the chicken thighs into chunks, discarding any excess fat. Grind with a meat grinder or mince finely in a food processor, then transfer to a large bowl.
- Mince 4 of the garlic cloves and add them to the chicken. Add cumin, paprika, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, ginger, and 2 tablespoons of the yogurt. Squeeze in the juice of half the lemon, being careful not to let seeds in. Stir well. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours.
- Meanwhile, mince the remaining 1 clove garlic and add it to a bowl with the remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons yogurt and juice from the remaining half lemon. Stir in the jalapeño and mint and season with salt. Set aside or keep refrigerated.
- Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over half of coal grate. Alternatively, set half the burners of a gas grill to high heat. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate.
- While the grill preheats, divide and shape the chicken mixture into 4 patties (or 6 if you’d like smaller patties). Season the patties generously all over with salt, then place directly over hot side of grill. Cook for 6 minutes on each side, or until the center reads 165°F (74°C) on an instant-read thermometer.
- Toast the naan or burger buns on the grill. Then fill the naan or burger buns with sliced cucumber, lettuce, if using, and the chicken patties. Spoon the yogurt sauce on the patties, then sprinkle with fresh mint leaves and cilantro. Top with tomato and onion, if using, and serve.