Fake-bake Tandoori Chicken

Fake Bake Tandoori Chicken

I made this chicken for a party and as soon as it came out the children gathered around it and devoured it.  Contrary to popular belief the red color in tandoori is not from chillies but from food coloring. You can omit the red food coloring – it does nothing to enhance the taste – just makes it look more like “tandoori”.  I call it “fake-bake” because tandoori chicken is typically made in a clay oven (called tandoor) but I make this in a conventional oven.  The spices are also “dumbed down” to make the dish more palatable for the little tastebuds and you can add even less if you prefer.  This recipe is very kid friendly and an awesome way to introduce ethnic food to kids at home.  Great in wraps for school lunches the next day.

Good one for July 4th as it can be thrown on the grill as well.  Tandoori chicken and all that buttermilk ice-cream – strawberry, mango and pineapple!  It will be a HAPPY 4th of July.

Serves 2 adults and 2 kids


1 lb chicken breasts/thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes

3/4 cup yoghurt (full/lowfat)

1 tbsp ginger, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp garam masala

pinch (or more) of red chilli powder (optional)

pinch of red food coloring (optional)

salt and pepper to taste


  1. Marinate chicken in all the ingredients for at least 2 hours or overnight (longer is better)
  2. Preheat oven to 350F
  3. Bake for 30-35 minutes and if you like it charred you can leave it under the broiler for 5-10 minutes
  4. Serve on skewers for fun presentation if you desire (no need to bake on skewers – the skewers just make the chicken little fingers friendly)

Tips: Marinate in a ziplock bag for easy clean-up and line oven tray with foil.

16 thoughts on “Fake-bake Tandoori Chicken

  1. Looks great! I love the idea of preparing this in a conventional oven…no need to buy a clay oven now! I imagine it would be great on the grill, too!

  2. Well, I didn’t have tofu on hand or a daughter coming to visit, and I didn’t have fresh ginger but I did have Greek yogurt and chicken tenders. They marinated overnight and I baked them off for lunch. so I went ahead and made the recipe. It was good. It was a strange meal as I was testing whole-wheat biscuits for my blog on June 30. The other food was beets. My husband brought them in from the garden and prepared them. I am not a beet eater at all but I managed to eat 1/4 of one. That may be a record. I’m trying.

    I showed humongous retraint and kept aside some of the chicken for my lunch tomorrow.

  3. This looks great. We make similar skewered chicken for our tikka masala and cook it on the grill…it gives it a nice char. But I have to admit that I love how yours looks with the reddish color!

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