My mom makes an amazing baked tandoori chicken — but her recipe calls for a tomato yogurt marinade that’s made with a mixture of ketchup and barbecue sauce among other ingredients. In an attempt to recreate her recipe in a manner that is compliant with the Whole Life Challenge nutrition parameters, I came up with a sauce recipe that had D & I eating straight out of the pot! I’m pleased with how it came out — try it out and let me know how you liked it and if you have any suggested tweaks to the recipe.

Tomato Sauce Marinade [compliant on all levels]

2 onions, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

650 grams passata

1 teaspoon each of smoked paprika powder, cumin powder, and red chili flakes (chili is optional)

2 teaspoons of coriander powder

3-5 dates (depends on your desired level of sweetness)

salt to taste

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Heat a pot. Once hot, add the EVOO. Then add the onions and sauté until light brown. Add the minced garlic and sauté for another 3-4 minutes. Add a sprinkle of salt while sautéing.
  2. Once the onion and garlic mixture is brown, add the tomato paste, passata, and spices. Simmer on the stove to allow it to thicken. Remove from heat after about 15 minutes.
  3. Soak the dates in hot water to soften them.
  4. In a blender, pour the tomato mixture and the dates. Blend until thoroughly mixed.
  5. Return mixture to the pot and allow to simmer and for another 15-20 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste.

plumcooks-chicken-tandoori-1-sauce

Tandoori Chicken – 2 versions

Version 1 (with Greek Yogurt)

300 grams Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon of tandoori masala (use according to your taste)

6 chicken breasts, skinned

6 chicken thighs, skinned and de-boned

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  2. Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces. Make 2 slits in each chicken piece.
  3. Combine the tomato sauce (recipe above) with the Greek yogurt and tandoori masala. Mix well.
  4. Pour the tomato yogurt mixture into a baking dish and add the chicken pieces. Make sure to coat the chicken pieces so that they are completely covered.
  5. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.

plumcooks-chicken-tandoori-2-yogurt-marinade

marinating in yogurt sauce — the longer you marinate it, the more tender the chicken

that being said, I’ve baked it using this recipe without marinating it at all and it came out just fine

Version 2 (without Greek Yogurt)

1 tablespoon of tandoori masala (use according to your taste)

6 chicken breasts, skinned

6 chicken thighs, skinned and de-boned

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  2. Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces. Make 2 slits in each chicken piece.
  3. Combine the tomato sauce (recipe above) with the tandoori masala. Mix well.
  4. Pour the spiced tomato mixture into a baking dish and add the chicken pieces. Make sure to coat the chicken pieces so that they are completely covered.
  5. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.

plumcooks-chicken-tandoori-3-tomato-marinade

marinating in just the tomato sauce

I wasn’t sure how tender the chicken would turn out without the yogurt, but it was just as tasty. In fact, because there wasn’t as much liquid, the tomato sauce crusted the chicken pieces really nicely. The sweetness of the dates with the tanginess of the tomato sauce and the slight heat from the chili flakes made for a nice combination. You can marinate the chicken overnight in the sauce (with or without yogurt) for really tender chicken.

plumcooks-chicken-tandoori-5-without-yogurt

baked chicken in just the tomato sauce

This dish is the one I cook for nights when we want a ‘treat.’ It’s still completely compliant with the Whole Life Challenge, but tastes like we’re cheating. I’ve had this chicken with various accompaniments – with cauliflower rice, over brown rice, and even shredded in a lettuce wrap. It even tastes great on its own. Happy cooking!

plumcooks-chicken-tandoori-6-on-brown-rice

tandoori chicken served over brown rice

plumcooks-chicken-tandoori-7-on-cauliflower-rice

tandoori chicken served over cauliflower rice