Not So Spicy Tandoori Chicken

This recipe was quite the challenge for me.  Not because it’s difficult, but because my wife doesn’t like spicy (hot) foods and because I didn’t have many of the spices that would normally go into Tandoori chicken.  Also, Tandoori chicken is quite dry tasting normally and I REALLY wanted to see if I could make it a bit more moist.  The results were fantastic!  It was juicy, tasty and just the perfect amount of spicy.  Also, I realized that the gravy this recipe makes is perfect to use as the water when making quinoa (seen in the image and instructions below) which is an excellent and healthy alternative to pasta or rice.  I also made an amazing creamed spinach (seen in the image) that I will post the recipe for tomorrow.
  • 2 chicken breasts, thighs and legs (see notes)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fennel (see notes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (see notes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (see notes)
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  1. Partially thaw your chicken pieces (or see step three for thawed chicken)  You want them a little bit frozen but not solid.  This allows the moisture from the chicken to keep it from drying out in the cooker.  Plus the mix of white and dark meat really adds to this recipe.
  2. Cut/dice your chicken and drop in the slow cooker.
  3. Pour lemon juice into cooker over chicken (you can also marinade your chicken in the lemon juice for an hour or two as the acid helps tenderize the chicken).
  4. In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and yogurt until fully incorporated.
  5. Add yogurt mixture to the slow cooker and thoroughly mix with chicken and lemon juice.
  6. Smother the other parts of the chicken and place on top of the chicken breasts.
  7. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • gravy from above recipe
  • 1 cup water
I simply added 1 cup of quinoa to the drained gravy plus one cup water.  I heated the mixture on high until it boiled and then continued to cook it until the liquid thickened.  I then reduced the heat to medium and continued cooking until the mixture thickened greatly and the quinoa was cooked.
  • Most recipes state to use a whole chicken, I find that pieces work better and are less likely to dry out.  I also normally use 4 thigh pieces and no drumsticks as we like boneless meat.
  • You can use coriander as a substitute for fennel.
  • You can use Cayenne pepper as a substitute for red pepper.
  • You can use cumin as a substitute for paprika and perhaps double this measurement for spiciness.
  • Regarding red food coloring: Most people know that Tandoori chicken is red.  To get this effect, many add red food coloring.  I do not add any coloring because I think it is an unnecessary ingredient.  Naturally it’s entirely your decision.
  • If this is still a bit too spicy, or even too lemony, you can add a 1/4 cup sour cream to the finished chicken and sauce.