Bombay Chile & Cilantro Chicken via Jeanette's Healthy Living

Jeanette Chen

Lately, I’ve been craving the warm spices of Indian food, and so this week, my kids were treated to a new chicken dish – Bombay Chile and Cilantro Chicken, marinated with lots of warm spices, including coriander, black pepper, cumin, and cayenne. 

This is definitely a dish that can be started early in the day or the night before, then thrown on the grill or broiled just before dinnertime. I marinated the chicken in the morning, cooked everything before I headed out the door to pick my son up from school, and just reheated it as soon as we walked in the door an hour later. Served with a bright Cilantro Sauce, this is a unique, flavorful chicken dish that I will be making again. To go with this spicy chicken dish, I made some Indian Lemon Rice using brown rice, and Spinach Thoran (I had picked up some leafy green vegetables from the local Indian supermarket that were labeled “phoi leaves”, that looked like New Zealand Spinach).

Bombay Chile & Cilantro Chicken

Adapted from The Essential New York Times Cookbook


4 whole chicken legs (2 1/4 pounds), skinned, or one 4 pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces and skinned

Chicken Marinade:

1 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds

2 teaspoons black peppercorns

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

one 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup water, or as needed

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or more if you like it extra spicy

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup cilantro leaves and roots, chopped

Cilantro Sauce

1 cup chopped cilantro

3 cloves garlic

1 hot pepper such as jalapeno pepper, halved and seeded (or not if you like it spicy)

1/2 cup walnuts

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup water


For Serving:

Sliced red onion

Thinly sliced lemons and limes

Fresh cilantro leaves

Cilantro Sauce



1. For the Chicken Marinade:

2. Toast the coriander seeds, peppercorns, and cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle and grind to a fine powder.

3. Combine the ground spices, garlic, ginger, oil, water, cayenne, lemon juice and salt in a blender and puree. Transfer to a large bowl and toss in the chicken and cilantro. Mix well, making sure all chicken pieces are covered with the marinade.

4. Marinade for at least 4 hours (the longer the better).

5. Grill chicken or broil until done.

6. To make Cilantro Sauce:

7. Combine cilantro, garlic, hot pepper, walnuts, lemon juice, cumin, salt, pepper and water in a blender; puree until smooth.

8. To serve:

9. Scatter onions, lemons, limes and cilantro leaves on top of chicken.

10. Serve with Cilantro Sauce.

[Photography courtesy of Jeanette's Healthy Living Blog]