I’ve been making this tandoori ground chicken with potatoes for over a decade now. For those of you keeping count, I learned how to make it almost twelve years ago, when I first got married. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t give credit to the person who inspired the evolution of this recipe. It’s definitely in our regular rotation and is a comfort food for The Mister.
When I was trying to navigate my way through my first kitchen, I was eager to learn all things food by watching and listening and talking to anyone and everyone who cooked. Aunty A is one of the people who has the magic touch when it comes to food. She can make even frozen fish sticks taste like the best fish you’ve ever had- now that’s true power. She’s the one who first introduced me to this ground chicken. As I watched her move gracefully, and add a little bit of this and that, I could only hope that one day I would be able to cook as well as her. Her family was a large part of The Mister’s family long before I entered the picture and when I did, they became my family too. That day, when I first had this chicken, surrounded by new family and friends, I knew that this would become a staple in my own home. So when The Mister asked for it, I sprang into action, recreating it from my memory and I’ve been making it since.
In total, this tandoori ground chicken takes less than half an hour to make, has all the delicate flavors of traditional tandoori chicken without having to marinate it overnight, and is lightly spiced so it can also be altered for people who don’t like a lot of spice. In fact, this chicken is one of the first dishes I make for friends who aren’t too familiar with Indian food.. Either this or on my Instant Pot butter chicken. Served atop fragrant and simple basmati rice or a piece of fresh naan, I’m reminded of how and why sometimes basic is lit.
These days, my favorite part of this dish has been that it’s totally whole30 compliant and paleo friendly-if you omit the potatoes for paleo, which means I can either have it with riced cauliflower or in lettuce cups. The potatoes keep me from missing the starch that is so common in indian food, while bulking up the chicken for a delicious protein situation. I mean, it’s a win-win situation.
- 2 lbs ground chicken breast
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 2 tbsp oil of choice (I use avocado oil to stay whole30/paleo compliant)
- 1 tsp ground corriander
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp garlic, minced
- 1 tsp ginger, minced
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder or cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into eights (use sweet potatoes for paleo or take out completely)
- 2–3 drops of red food coloring, if desired
- 1/4 cup water
- cilantro for garnish
- Heat oil in a pot over medium high heat, about 1 minute. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add in garlic and ginger and saute fo 30 seconds, until the garlic and ginger start browning and become fragrant. Add salt, turmeric, cumin, coriander powder, chili powder or cayenne, and garam masala and stir until onions are coated. Cook for 1 minute and add in tomatoes. Stir again, to coat tomatoes with the spice mixture and let the tomatoes break down for 3-4 minutes.
- Carefully add in the chicken, breaking apart the pieces so they don’t clump together. Stir until the chicken is well coated with the onion and tomato mixture and chicken begins to release some liquid. Reduce heat to low, cover and let the chicken for 5 minutes.
- Uncover pot and add in potatoes, carefully stirring to incorporate. Stir in water and food coloring, if using, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until chicken is cooked and potatoes are tender.
- Uncover pot and increase to high heat and let remaining water evaporate, stirring often to make sure chicken doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. This may take 3-5 minutes, depending on how much water is in the pot.
- Remove from heat and garnish with cilantro.
- Serve with hot basmati rice or naan. Or if whole30 or paleo, serve with cauliflower rice.