The Tandoori Chicken Diet

Lots of people pop up at this post after doing an internet search along the lines of of  ‘is tandoori chicken good for weight loss?’ This stems from, I think, from various diets which say if you’re eating out in an Indian restaurant, tandoori is the best thing to choose.

This is because it’s not made with a creamy sauce and lashings of oil, but it does use yoghurt in the marinade. It can be tweaked … skip to the recipe below if you don’t want to read my ramblings on weight loss.

Losing weight – it’s really not difficult. You eat less, drink less booze and exercise more. It’s not brain surgery and I’ve done it before. I’ve lost loads of weight. Pounds and pounds and I swore it would never go back on. Ok, you can laugh now.

Image of a set of old-fashioned kitchen scales

The Mrs Portly name, which began as a joke, has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or perhaps a clothes-filling prophecy. Something has to give and I’d rather it wasn’t the seam on my trousers.

But while I can forego wine, even the nightly pre-supper fino ritual, I love good food.

And my long-suffering and naturally thin husband, while prepared to indulge me as long I don’t try to get between him and his gin and tonic, draws the line at fasting twice a week. So the 5:2 Diet, seemingly the diet du jour, is out (though I may sneak a few very low calorie dishes past him).

Image of a heap of strawberries

What I’m aiming to do then is to lose weight while still eating well, so for the next few months I’ll be offering skinnier versions of most of the dishes I post here, alongside the standard recipes.

There will be some exceptions as I’ve also promised myself I’m going to write more about local producers and not all of them produce food naturally conducive to a slimmer waistline (pork pie, anyone?) and I’m not going to attempt to work out the calories. There are lots of free calorie counting sites on the web if you’re so inclined.

If I’m trying to lose weight I don’t drink alcohol and I (sob) don’t eat bread or cheese (except for a dusting of parmesan from time to time). I don’t eat sweets, cakes or biscuits much anyway but they’re definitely off the menu for the next few months.

Image of the vegetable garden

The good news is that the garden is beginning to produce plenty of fruit and veg and they’re never a hardship to eat when they’re so fresh, in fact they don’t always make it back to the kitchen.

Spices add interest to what I hope will be a comparatively low-fat, low carb diet, so I’m kicking off with the promised tandoori chicken, which can be tailored to fit slimline or fatline diets.

Tandoori Chicken

Image of cooked tandoori chicken pieces


1 chicken. Remove the breasts and legs and use the carcase to make a good stock for soup another day. (If you’re using smaller drumsticks please adjust the cooking time accordingly).

2 lemons, juice only.

Pinch of salt.

2-3 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt, low fat if you’re watching the calories.

3-4 tablespoons of tandoori spice mix (commercially produced or mix together a tablespoon each of salt and powdered ginger, cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric and cayenne. Any left over will store in an airtight container).

Image of chicken joints


If you are weight-watching, you can skin the chicken joints, but personally I’d rather eat the crispy skin then eat less of something else.

Slash the chicken with a sharp knife, put it in a deep bowl and massage in the lemon juice and salt.

Stir the tandoori spice mix into the yoghurt, adding any lemon juice left lurking in the bottom of your bowl of chicken. Try not to be too alarmed by the extraordinary dayglo pink if you’re using bought tandoori spice mix – it often has food colouring in it.

Image of chicken marinating in the tandoori spice mix

Coat the chicken pieces with the goo, making sure you rub the mixture well into the slashes. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours but for at least four hours if you can.

Wipe any lurid yoghurt splashes off your kitchen floor, counter tops and cat. It’s his own fault, he shouldn’t stand near the kitchen units. Give him a chicken wing as compensation.

Heat the oven to 400F, 200C, Gas 6.

Line a roasting dish with tin foil (helps with cleaning later) and put a wire rack inside. Shake any excess marinade off the chicken, place the pieces on the rack, and cook for 40-45 minutes until burnished and golden with a few authentic-looking black edges. It should be cooked through but juicy.

Non-slimmers can serve it with rice or naan and a yoghurt and mint dip. Slimmers may be better off with a big salad dressed with lemon juice.

Image of tandoori chicken on a plate with salad

7 thoughts on “The Tandoori Chicken Diet

  1. Great recipe; I must admit I’ve never cooked an Asian dish before but will try this one. It looks delicious.. You’re quite right about losing weight… I too love good food, but also wine And sweets.

  2. I very much approve. By the way, I don’t like cats. Will the dog do as substitute. She is high white and would wear the high red with some style.

    • Well, nobody’s perfect so I suppose you can substitute a dog! And certainly the dayglo pink would show up better on her than on our black cat … thanks once again for the kind words.

  3. Pingback: Mrs Portly’s Top 10 | Mrs Portly's Kitchen

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