Easy and Lite Saucy Tandoori Chicken by Kalpna Woolf

Easy and Lite Saucy Tandoori Chicken by Kalpna Woolf

This is the dish we crave when we want an Indian takeaway, but it’s normally full of fat and cream and the spices are buried in heavy sauce! In this version, you will taste all the spices – turmeric, Kashmiri chillies, coriander, cloves and cinnamon. Plain yogurt gives the dish a light creamy and healthy taste. It’s quick and easy if you use the pre-prepared Tandoori Spice Rub. You can make this for a dinner for the family or make it ‘special’ for guests by garnishing with thinly sliced roasted almonds and fresh pomegranate seeds.

Serves 4
Calories per serving: 261


150g/5¼oz oz/ ⅔cup whole
plain yogurt

3 tbsp Tandoori Spice Rub

1 tsp salt

juice of ½ lemon, keep a dash for squeezing before serving

2 garlic cloves, peeled and
finely chopped

5cm/2in piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

3 tbsp olive oil – 1 tbsp for marinade, 2 tbsp for cooking

4 medium pieces of chicken breast, skinned (if you can get it on the bone, this will be better) and cut into 5cm/2in chunks

1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced lengthways

1 large beef tomato, chopped into small cubes

2 tbsp tomato purée (paste)

200ml/7fl oz/1 cup hot water

1 small bag (100g/3½oz) baby spinach leaves

a small bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped


Using a hand whisk, whisk the yogurt in a bowl until it is smooth, with no lumps and of ‘pouring’ consistency. This will help the yogurt not separate when cooking. Add 2 tablespoons of the Spice Rub, the salt, lemon juice, garlic, ginger and 1 tablespoon olive oil to the yogurt. Drop in the chicken pieces and mix in well. Cover and leave in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 1 hour, or overnight, to allow the spices to meld together.

When you are ready to cook, preheat the grill as hot as it will go.

Shake the excess marinade off each piece of chicken (keep the marinade for the sauce) and grill for 5 minutes on each side. The chicken should be parcooked and have a slightly charred colour. Set the chicken aside.

To make the sauce, heat a wok or large pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook until they are soft but not brown. Mix in the remaining Tandoori Spice Rub and cook for 2–3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and tomato purée and cook over a medium heat for a further 3–4 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon water, then turn off the heat and allow to cool.

Whisk the remaining marinade to make it smooth. When the sauce is cool, turn on the heat again to very low and slowly pour in the marinade. Cook gently for 5 minutes, then fold in the chicken pieces. Turn them a few times to coat in the sauce then pour in the water. Bring to a slow boil then reduce the heat to a simmer, partially cover with a lid, and continue cooking until you have a medium sauce, about 8–10 minutes.

Mix in the spinach leaves and, as they wilt, sprinkle over the coriander and a big squeeze of lemon juice.


You can substitute fish for the chicken. Salmon and tilapia go well, as do prawns, and a mix of vegetables also works well.

Eat your tandoori meal with a green salad or cauliflower rice.

The featured recipe is from Spice yourself Slim: Harness the power of super spices for well-being ad weight-loss’ by Kalpna Woolf, published by Pavilion Books. Photo credit to Clare Winfield

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