Tandoori Chicken Tacos

by Shawnda on March 16, 2011

in Chicken & Poultry,Cinco de Mayo,Lighter & Healthier,Mexican & TexMex,On the grill,Recipe Collections

Cilantro Tandoori Chicken Tacos

After being teased with bathing suit weather and endless fresh gulf seafood at Food Blog Camp in early January, we just couldn’t go back to heavy winter foods. So for the last couple of months, we’ve been eating like it was 80 degrees outside, even if it was only 35.

I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve had Cilantro Tandoori Chicken since January. The chicken sits in a fragrant and flavorful marinade and is then grilled to crispy and juicy perfection. While it’s very good as a grilled cut-up whole chicken (the original recipe), it’s excellent when served as tacos.

We serve the tacos with our favorite pineapple salsa, wrapped in a fluffy tortilla. Prior to cooking this recipe, neither of us were crazy about dark meat but we were quickly converted. We now “fight” over the last thigh and leave the white meat for the baby :)

A couple of notes: There is a lot of marinade here. The original recipe called for the legs, thighs, and breasts from a 4 lb chicken. The first time we made it, I realized it could easily handle double the chicken as I was pouring a bunch of used marinade down the drain. So now when I make it, I marinate 10-12 skin-on/bone-in chicken thighs in the biggest glass bowl we have. These leftovers don’t suck!

Tandoori Chicken Tacos

The chicken sits in a fragrant and flavorful marinade and is then grilled to crispy and juicy perfection. While it’s very good as a grilled cut-up whole chicken (the original recipe), it’s excellent when served as tacos.


  • Up to 12 chicken thighs (see note above)
  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 cup packed fresh cilantro
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander (I used 2 rounded tsp of whole coriander)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Vegetable oil, for oiling grill pan/grate
  • Flour tortillas, for serving


  1. Place chicken in a large bowl. Place remaining ingredients in the blender and process until smooth. If you use a really thick yogurt, you might need to add a little milk if your blender struggles with the marinade.
  2. Pour the marinade over the chicken, cover, and refrigerate for several hours to overnight.
  3. Oil grill (or grill pan) and heat to medium. Remove chicken from marinade and shake off the excess marinade.
  4. Grill ~10 minutes each side (for bone-in/skin-on – use your meat thermometer), until juices run clear and the skin has nicely browned. Remove from heat and let rest 5 minutes before serving.


Yields: 4-6 servings (whole chicken) or up to 12 (individual thighs)

Adapted from Fresh Mexico, by Marcella Valladolid


{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kim (Feed Me, Seymour) March 16, 2011 at 6:04 am

I’m no fan of dark meat either, but I think I could try it this way. The pineapple salsa seems like a great compliment!


2 Blog is the New Black March 16, 2011 at 6:05 am

Shawnda, these look wonderful! I’ve never tried Tandori chicken.


3 Josie March 16, 2011 at 7:05 am

Yes! I have been waiting for you to post these ever since you mentioned them a while back- going on my menu for next week!


4 Stefania March 16, 2011 at 8:18 am

Che gustoso deve essere questo tacos ? ciao


5 Joanne March 16, 2011 at 11:33 am

Maybe if we all cook this straight for like a WEEK the weather gods will take notice and will get summer here faster. I personally volunteer to take part. (Okay so maybe I just kinda sorta want to eat this all day every day ever and anon. Is that so wrong?)


6 Happy When Not Hungry March 16, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Wow this chicken looks amazing! I love that pineapple salsa too. Will def have to try.


7 Kankana March 16, 2011 at 4:55 pm

First time in your blog and I must say you have an awsm beautiful display out here .. love your clicks and the mouthwatering recipes!!


8 Josie March 16, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Oh and I meant to ask – is that rice in the tacos?


9 foodiebride March 17, 2011 at 4:25 am

@Josie, Yes. The rice recipe is buried in my backlog but it’s essentially brown rice, the kernels from a roasted ear of corn, and a roasted poblano. If you want it, I’ll email it to you.


10 Wendy March 18, 2011 at 6:37 pm

@foodiebride, Ooh, please email me the rice recipe as well! :) These tacos look fantastic! They are going on the menu for next week! :) Thanks!


11 Foodfashionandflow March 17, 2011 at 11:43 am

Wow! Those tacos look amazing


12 Laurel March 17, 2011 at 7:04 pm

This sounds like an awesome flavor combination! I’d love for you to submit this to the M&T Spotlight at http://www.makeandtakes.com/spotlight


13 Sarah @ The Pajama Chef March 17, 2011 at 9:32 pm

this looks fabulous! definitely a summer-tease :)


14 my life be like March 18, 2011 at 1:53 am

yumm look super fresh and not too heavy of a meal :)


15 Sarah March 19, 2011 at 11:49 am

This does sound like the perfect in-between-seasons-meal. And I love the dark meat of chicken–so much more moist and flavorful!


16 Cara March 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm

You’ve totally inspired me – I’m making a version of these on Wednesday or Thursday. I’ll also be trying out Naturally Ella’s roasted mango and habenero salsa, which I saw around the same time. I think it will go great with these chicken tacos!


17 Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls March 23, 2011 at 1:05 am

Okay, this looks INCREDIBLE! Wow! I can’t wait to try this out! Fabulous photography!

Mary xo
Delightful Bitefuls


18 Jennifer March 26, 2011 at 10:10 am

These sound awesome! Definitely making them for dinner ASAP.


19 Kevin (Closet Cooking) March 27, 2011 at 5:46 am

Tandoori chicken tacos are a great idea!


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