This tandoori chicken curry came about quiet by accident (during my cooking demonstrations days) but is so good and so much quicker to make than the original version, you’ll want to try it! There is no sautéing of onions or pre baking the chicken involved, yet it results in a flavorful and authentic tasting dish. I like to make this for quick weeknight meals. And added bonus, it’s dairy free too!
INGREDIENTS & SUBSTITUTIONS
This curry is missing a key ingredient, onion, that you will find in almost all curry recipes but I omitted it simply because the teaching kitchen I was hosting my South Asian Cooking Workshop in, had an exhaust missing. Now if you’ve cooked Pakistani curry, you know that the smell of onions is hard to get rid of! I’m not complaining since it ended up working out for me (I didn’t have to stand around waiting for the onions to brown) and for the sake of brevity of the workshop.
I was also challenged to make this curry dairy free hence the coconut milk. You can leave it out and use water instead but it definitely adds creaminess to the dish which I love!
Here’s what I used to make this tandoori curry instead:
Chicken – Tenders or thighs cubed into bite sized pieces.
Ginger and Garlic – Both minced or in a paste. If you have this prepped ahead, the process will be much faster. Please don’t buy the prepackaged version. Ginger and garlic are some of the most anti inflammatory ingredients in South Asian cooking and you want to make the most of these fresh.
Spices – Red chili powder, turmeric, tandoori masala and salt
Tomato sauce – You can make your own tomato sauce at home or get the store bought version.
Coconut milk – This is what will give this dish its gravy. And since this is dairy free, coconut milk takes the place of yogurt.
HOW TO MAKE IT
This recipe comes together fast because there is no marination involved. Because the chicken is precut into bite sized pieces, it will cook faster too. You could marinate if you wanted to but I feel chicken thighs and tenders tend to be a juicer cut of meat and so marination can be skipped for the sake of time.
Begin by heating up the oil in a medium sized pan. Once the oil is heated, add the ginger and garlic and saute till aromatic. Add the chicken and saute some more till the chicken pieces change color. Next, add the spices and saute about a minute till the spices are well combined and coat the chicken. Add the tomato sauce and stir to combine and then add the coconut milk. Cover the pan and let the chicken cook for about 20 minutes. Once the chicken has cooked through, uncover the pan and let some of the water dry. Your tandoori chicken is ready once the oil rises to the top. Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice, cauliflower rice or a side salad.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can we substitute store bought tomato sauce with homemade tomato purée?
Of course! Just puree 3 small tomatoes and use instead. The consistency will be more watery and the color may vary slightly but you can always dry it out some by cooking it on high heat.
If I don’t avoid dairy, can I use yogurt instead?
You can, but the coconut milk is what gives this curry its “curry” if you will. You can perhaps omit the coconut milk and add in half a cup of yogurt thinned out with some water.
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WANT MORE CHICKEN RECIPES?
Tandoori Chicken Curry
- 2 tablespoons ghee or neutral oil. I use avocado
- 2 lbs. chicken tenders or boneless skinless thighs, cubed into 1 “ pieces
- 2 teaspoons garlic minced
- 1 teaspoons ginger minced
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon tandoori masala
- 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 - 1 1/2 teaspoons Himalayan pink salt
- 1 cup coconut milk
- On medium high heat, add ghee/oil to the pan.
- Add ginger and garlic and saute till aromatic.
- Add the chicken and saute some more till it changes color, about 3 minutes.
- Add all the spices and tandoori masala and stir some more.
- Add the tomato sauce and coconut milk and stir to combine.
- Cover and let cook for about 10 minutes.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with white, brown or cauliflower rice.
- You can substitute the ghee with neutral oil like avocado oil and even split half ghee and half avocado oil.
- I use Spice Tree Organics tandoori masala as it is batch made without additives and no salt so check to see if yours has additional salt and adjust accordingly.