chicken tandoori

Fish Tandoori Recipe. Chicken Variation

The term Tandoori is Indian.

It means the dish is made in a Tandoor, or clay oven. Of course you don’t need to have a tandoor oven to make a tandoori recipe!

It signals the present of a yogurt or buttermilk in the sauce ingredients, which makes the chicken or fish prepared this way incredibly moist and tender.

For fish dishes, using yogurt or buttermilk is no trouble.

But for chicken I need a dairy-free version. I obtain the buttermilk/yogurt tang and texture by making a soy milk-lemon juice mixture curdle: It only takes seconds, and is very useful not only for this Tandoori dish, but for many other dishes calling for yogurt or buttermilk: Blinis, corn bread, lemon cake, salad dressings, etc…. Soy milk is the only dairy-free milk that will curdle with the addition of lemon juice or vinegar, so don’t try with rice, almond or other dairy-free milks.

If you would rather not use soy, use coconut yogurt.


  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons curry, a little more if you like it hotter
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice or lime juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 3 pounds salmon or other thick fish, sliced 1 1/2 inch wide, or cubed 2 inches.


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Combine the soy milk and the lemon juice in a large mixing bowl. the mixture will curdle. If you used coconut yogurt, or plain yogurt, use it directly, without lemon juice: There's no need to let it curdle.

In a food processor, place the olive oil, curry, lemon or lime juice, pepper, onion, and ginger, and grind finely. You will obtain a slightly runny paste. Transfer this mixture to a mixing bowl with the reserved soy mixture.

Rub the fish with this mixture. Place on a baking sheet in one layer, liquids and all.

Bake for about 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Chicken Variation:

Proceed just as above, using a dozen drumsticks and thighs (12 pieces total). Cook about 40 minutes, or a little longer.

6 replies
  1. Lévana
    Lévana says:

    Faye you would have realized right away: Mixing any other kind of milk with lemon juice of vinegar simply wouldn’t work! I remember you telling me your husband is very fond of Indian dishes! xoxoxo

  2. Diane F
    Diane F says:

    Your intro is imprecise: tandoor refers to the oven, not to the marinade. That said, the soy milk-lemon juice is a good substitution for yogurt for a meat meal.

    • Lévana
      Lévana says:

      Diane I realize perfectly that Tandoori is the oven the dish is cooked in! but by extension, we call tandoori dishes made in Tandoori ovens.

  3. Miriam Bergman
    Miriam Bergman says:

    This Fish Tandoori recipe sounds appealing, different and simple. I especially appreciate the tip about how to make dairy-free buttermild or yogurt as I am lacrose intolerant.

    One question about the recipe. The ingredients call for 1/3 c lemon or lime juice. This juice is mentioned twice in the recipe – to be combined with the soy mild and to be included with the other ingredients in the food processor for grinding.

    Does that mean that half the quantity is used for each or does the recipe need more lemon/lime juice than specified, or perhaps the lemon juice was mistakenly mentioned with the second list of food-processor ingredients but is not meant to be included there.

    Looking forward to finding out how this is resolved.
    Thanks for your delectable recipe ideas, especially the ones that are simple yet have interesting flavors or secrets of the trade involved. Also, the recipes that take advantage of leftovers such as bread/Challah as very useful.

    Thanks again,

    • Lévana
      Lévana says:

      Miriam don’t read more into the recipe than exactly what it says. The recipe is tried and true. 1 tablespoon is used with the milk to curdle it, the rest is used in the mixture to be ground, then both mixtures are combined to proceed with the dish.

  4. Faye Levy
    Faye Levy says:

    Great recipe! The marinade sounds delicious, Appreciate the tip about using the lemon juice with soy milk but not with rice milk or almond milk.


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