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East Indian Tandoori Chicken

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Tandoori Chicken is a popular recipe in my kitchen than my son once named red chicken. This chicken is tenderized by a spicy yogurt marinade that is red from the tomato sauce and the spices so we still call it Red Chicken.  Some recipes use red food colouring to intensify the colour but I don’t want to add artificial colouring so it is red enough for me.

Indian cooking is all about the spices so have a look in your spice cupboard and expand your collection if needed. Cumin, chili powder and cayenne are pretty ordinary. Ground coriander and garam masala are commonly used in this type of cooking. Saffron, considered the most expensive spice in the world, is just a bonus.

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Follower Photo and A Canadian Celiac Podcast

Authentic tandoori chicken gets its’ name from the tandoor oven 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.

Thanks to follower Sue J for sharing this photo of the Tandoori Chicken served with my Fragrant Saffron Rice recipe that she made in her kitchen. It looks delicious and I love that hibiscus blossom too.

Sue's Tandoori Chicken
Tandoori Chicken -photo by follower Sue J
Here’s a plug for Sue – Sue is the host of A Canadian Celiac podcast. This weekly podcast covers a variety of topics that may be of interest to anyone on a gluten free diet. Follow along to stay current on the ever-changing world of gluten free.

Cook Once, Eat Twice

For this photo I cooked bone-in chicken thighs for a finger lickin’ everyday dinner. When I’m organized I like to plan so I have enough to make two meals. I cook and serve enough chicken for dinner, but I also marinate enough for a second meal. As it freezes and again as it thaws, the meat marinates with all those delicious flavours. Best of all,  the second time around will be an even easier weeknight dinner.

From Everyday to Gourmet – Tandoori Chicken

This dish is definitely worthy of serving to company and can be a main course or one dish in an elaborate East Indian themed dinner. Here is the East Indian Menu I posted for a Gourmet Dinner Club meal. For such an occasion I would go gourmet with this Tandoori Chicken by cutting boneless chicken breasts into cubes and threading them onto skewers. This small effort makes a more impressive presentation, just what I want for a Dinner Club evening.

East Indian Gourmet Dinner Club Menu
An East Indian Menu – Gourmet Dinner Club

This Tandoori Chicken recipe is adapted from an old cookbook called A Spicy Touch. Witten by well-known and much loved Calgary cookbook author, Noorbanu Nimji. I have enjoyed many recipes from this cookbook and so it has a place on my kitchen bookshelf.

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

Recipes with Saffron

Paella with Seafood

A paella pan filled with Paella with Seafood
Paella with Seafood -photo credit Jim Little

Fragrant Saffron Rice

A dish of fragrant Saffron Rice
Fragrant Saffron Rice -photo credit Jim Little


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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