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East Indian Tandoori Chicken

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Tandoori Chicken is a popular East Indian roast chicken that is tenderized by a yogurt-spiced marinade. When my son was young he named it red chicken and the name has stuck.

Some recipes call for red food colouring but this version is red enough for me from the tomato paste and the spices. Indian cooking is all about the spices so have a look in your spice cupboard and expand your collection if needed to make this dish. 

Authentic tandoori chicken gets its’ name from the tandoor oven that it is traditionally cooked in. We cook it on the barbecue in the summer and in the oven all winter making it a year round favourite.

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Thanks for follower Sue J for sharing this photo of the Tandoori Chicken and Fragrant Saffron Rice made in her kitchen. It looks delicious!

Sue's Tandoori Chicken
Tandoori Chicken -photo by follower Sue J
Sue Jennett is the host of A Canadian Celiac podcast and I recommend you follow along for up to date information every week. She covers a variety of topics that are of interest to anyone on a gluten free diet. 

Cook Once, Eat Twice

For this photo I cooked a finger lickin’ everyday dinner using bone-in chicken thighs. On a day when I am planning ahead I marinate enough chicken for two meals. One I cook and serve, the other I freeze in the marinade. As it freezes and again when it thaws the meat marinates with all those delicious flavours. Best of all,  the second time around will be an easy dinner night.

From Everyday to Gourmet – Tandoori Chicken

This dish is definitely worthy of serving to company. It can be a main course or one dish in an elaborate East Indian themed Gourmet Dinner. For such an occasion I would thread cubes of boneless, skinless chicken breasts onto skewers for a nice presentation. Place them on top of a tray piled high with Fruited Rice Pilaf.

Other side dishes for entertaining are:

The Tandoori Chicken recipe comes from A Spicy Touch written by well-known and much loved Calgary cookbook author Noorbanu Nimji. I still use that cookbook and this is one of many recipes I enjoy.

Let me know in the comments below how your chicken turned out.


12 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
¼ cup plain yogurt
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp chopped ginger
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp chili powder (East Indian if you have it)
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp garam masala
¼ tsp cayenne
8 strands of saffron (optional)


Combine all ingredients except chicken in a bowl and stir to combine. Rub marinade on chicken and marinate 4 hours or overnight.
ON THE BBQ - Grill bone-in chicken on low heat for 45-60 minutes until done. Move it to an upper rack or use indirect heat after the chicken is nicely browned.
IN THE OVEN - Cook in 350°F oven for 45-60 minutes.


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