Tandoori chicken at the local ‘dhabas’ (roadhouses) was a treat! I would go on road trips with my friends and we would always stop at a dhaba. These are small restaurants (usually North Indian cuisine) with jute beds for lounging on, or cabanas where groups of people could sit together and eat and drink.

Tandoori chicken, rotis and dhal – these were our common orders most of the time.

There is something about smoked food that tastes so rustic and amazing. There is also something about eating in a setting like a dhaba which makes simple food taste out-of-this-world.

Years later, my mum found a tandoori spice mix that she loved and that she would use to make tandoori chicken at home. I now know that the bright red colour in most tandoori chicken is a food dye that is a man made chemical which isn’t very good for you.

So, I’ve devised my own simple and healthy tandoori chicken recipe that can be made in an oven or roasted on a BBQ.

This needs to be marinated the night before so the juices soak in and the fermentation tenderizes the chicken. It does work even if you marinade it for a few hours, but it doesn’t taste as tender and juicy as when you do it overnight.

Lime – These vitamin C powerhouses protect us from cancer, inflammation, heart disease, strokes, cholera, decreasing symptoms of arthritis, colds, flu and ear infections.

Yoghurt – The nutrient profile of yoghurt is quite wide. Grass fed, organic full fat yoghurt has omega 3s which could help decrease your risk of heart attacks, blood sugar imbalance, lower inflammation, etc.

Just one cup of yoghurt contains 38% of vitamin B12 and 27% of vitamin B2. It is a great source of iodine, calcium and zinc.

The live probiotics in yoghurt help to improve your gut bacteria. This in turn helps to improve your immune system. This helps to reduce the risk of cancer, digestive issues, asthma, type 2 diabetes; reduces blood pressure and cholesterol.

It can also  help reduce the risk of diarrhea during antibiotic use.

Yoghurt contains the bacteria lactobacillus, which is a very important vaginal bacterial. Eat a little over a cup of yoghurt a day to reduce the risk of getting any yeast infections.

Also, if you directly apply ¼ to 1 tsp of yoghurt down below, it cools things down and stops the itch and burn.

Garam masala – I make my own fresh garam masala which includes spices like bay leaves, black pepper, coriander seeds, cloves, etc. I will post the recipe soon.

The blend of spices can help with constipation, prevention of cancer, lowers blood sugar levels; it is anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti cancer.

This is a family favorite in my home…I hope it will become one in yours too.

Easy oven tandoori chicken

Prep Time12 hours 5 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time12 hours 25 minutes
Course: Dinner, lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: easy, gluten free, nonvegetarian, processed sugar free, quick
Servings: 4


  • 2 tsps garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • Salt to taste
  • Pinch pepper
  • 2 tbsps full fat, natural yoghurt If you want to make it dairy free, coconut yoghurt works as well
  • 500 gms Chicken thighs / breasts Cut into medium sized pieces
  • 1 tbsps melted ghee / olive oil


  • The previous night, mix all the spices, lime juice, salt and pepper and yoghurt together in a bowl
  • Add the chicken and mix well
  • Keep in a sealed container in the fridge overnight
  • The next day, preheat the oven to 180ºC
  • Place all the chicken pieces on a baking tray and pour the extra juice over all the pieces
  • Drizzle the melted ghee / olive oil over all the pieces
  • Place the tray in the oven for 15 minutes turning the chicken half way
  • After 15 minutes, turn the grill on high and finish browning the chicken for the last 5 minutes

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Meydani SN, Ha WK. Immunologic effects of yogurt. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;71(4):861‐872. doi:10.1093/ajcn/71.4.861

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Kochhar KP, Bijlani RL, Sachdeva U, Mahapatra SC, Padhy AK, Tandon RK. Gastro-intestinal effects of Indian spice mixture (Garam Masala). Trop Gastroenterol. 1999;20(4):170‐174

Rao AR, Hashim S. Chemopreventive action of oriental food-seasoning spices mixture Garam masala on DMBA-induced transplacental and translactational carcinogenesis in mice. Nutr Cancer. 1995;23(1):91‐101. doi:10.1080/01635589509514365

Ouattara B, Simard RE, Holley RA, et al. Antibacterial activity of selected fatty acids and essential oils against six meat spoilage organisms. Int J Food Microbiol 1997 Jul 22;37(2-3):155-62. 1997. PMID:12270

Sadeghi S, Davoodvandi A, Pourhanifeh MH, et al. Anti-cancer effects of cinnamon: Insights into its apoptosis effects. Eur J Med Chem. 2019;178:131–140. doi:10.1016/j.ejmech.2019.05.067


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