How Tandoori Chicken Took Over South Asian Thanksgiving Tables

For the diaspora, the no-frills dish has become a curious fixture of the iconic holiday meal.

Thanksgiving tandoori chicken
(Ken Faught/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Mehr Singh


November 24, 2022


10 min

In 1963, the LA Times published a recipe for tandoori chicken. The instructions were mostly par for the course, but instead of using the tandoor, they called for an oven broiler, a touchstone of American kitchens. On the East Coast, one year later, the NY Times profiled Monoroma Philips, the owner of a spice store on the Upper West Side called Magic Carpet. Philips told the NY Times that people flocked to her shop for tandoori spice mix and put it on “just about anything but coffee!” But it wasn’t just Americans who took to tandoori and started using it in new contexts. As a growing South Asian diaspora started adapting American traditions, a curious dish started appearing on their Thanksgiving tables: tandoori chicken. And this is its story.

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