This Tandoori Chicken Recipe is a wonderful light and low carb dinner for you and your family. A delicious mixture of Indian flavors that your guests will love!
To be completely honest I’ve never really been a big fan of pretty much any Indian Dish, well except for Naan Bread. I’ve always thought Indian food had to be so spicy which I’m not a fan of. But this Tandoori Chicken recipe proved me wrong. Let me give you a little background on how I started making these Tandoori Chicken Masala wraps.
On vacation recently a friend of mine made a huge Indian/Pakistani Feast for all 25 of us! I was pleasantly surprised, it was amazing!! Now one of her many dishes was Tandoori Chicken Masala. Here’s the tricky part, she had to cook for 25 people, and out of our group, more than half were either Gluten-Free, Keto, Diabetic, or on the Candida Diet. And this dish was perfect for every single one of us! I know that’s not an easy thing to accomplish, right?
So I decided to make her Tandoori Chicken and add my own little flare to it. I turned mine into Tandoori Chicken Masala Lettuce Wraps. When eating low carb you really have to get creative with some things, and I found that lettuce wraps are a huge hit with my family and friends. You get to load your lettuce up with all these yummy toppings, and the best part about it, you don’t have to feel guilty after eating it because they are totally Keto!
What really is Tandoori Chicken?
Indian cuisine is very new to me, so we are going to learn about it together.
From what I’ve learned so far, Tandoori is an absolute favorite in most Indian households and will find it in pretty much every Indian restaurant. The chicken is marinated in a blend of spices which is what they call Tandoori Masala, along with olive oil, lemon, garlic, ginger, and yogurt.
Once they marinate the chicken, which is usually overnight, they will cook it in the traditional “tandoor” oven. What is a Tandoor oven you ask? It’s an outdoor clay oven that reaches such extremely hot temperatures, that it gives your chicken a nice charred look and really locks in the deep flavor of all your spices.
So I’m pretty sure that most of us don’t have a tandoor oven sitting on our back porch or patios, but don’t worry! Your regular BBQ grill or your oven will do the job no problem.
The blend of spices you find in Tandoori Masala will also be found in a lot of other Indian dishes. It gives a slightly spicy, yet smoky flavor to your dish. If you’re like me and don’t have a lot of these spices already in your spice cabinet then you can find a Masala spice already made from the grocery store, online, or at an Indian market.
Let’s talk about our Ingredients for this Low Carb Tandoori Chicken –
Chicken – I’ve made it several times now, and I always choose skinless thighs. But legs are great too, just make sure they are skinless as well. I’m not really sure why but honestly my go-to for so many chicken recipes are thighs.
I think they just always come out more tender, but it’s just my personal preference. You probably have your own go to, so whatever that is, use it. Be careful if using chicken breasts, they can dry out very easily.
Masala Spice Mix – I used Shan Tandoori Masala Mix. I didn’t have most of the spices that you need to make it from scratch so it was easier and cheaper to just get the already made spice mix. But here’s what’s in the spice mix: Paprika, Salt, Red Chili Pepper, Ground Ginger, Black Pepper, Cumin, Brown Cardamom, Garlic Powder, Aniseed, Cinnamon, and Dried Papaya Powder.
Greek Yogurt – Makes a nice creamy and thick sauce to marinate your chicken in. Again you’ll see this ingredient in a lot of my recipes.
Olive Oil – Adds a nice flavor and thins out your sauce just a bit.
Lemon Juice – Who doesn’t love to add some fresh lemon juice for a nice little tang?
Mint Chutney – Maybe a lot of you guys know what this is, but I didn’t. Because I’m new to making Indian cuisine I bought a mint chutney that was already made and in a jar. You can buy it at the grocery store, an Indian market or even online. In the future, though I will be making one from scratch. But for right now, we are using the one I bought.
Why is Tandoori Chicken Red?
It’s a very common thing that’s in Tandoori and other Indian dishes. But the question is: What really is it, and Is it necessary? First of all, it’s Red Food Dye #40 and second, no it’s 100% not necessary.
Red Dye #40 is petroleum based substance that has many bad side effects with children and adults. So truthfully it’s something you don’t need to add. The paprika and the red chili pepper will give it a nice lighter red color that you looking for.
Is Tandoori Masala the same as Garam Masala?
Tandoori masala and garam masala are both highly flavored spice blends that are found in a lot of Indian dishes. They are a crucial elements to traditional Indian cuisine and used in many recipes. While both are very similar they also have some key differences to keep in mind. Let’s briefly take a look.
Tandoori Masala: Indian spice blend that is used very often to marinate meat like chicken, and is cooked in a clay oven that is called a Tandoor. Again, the actual word Masala means spice blend. Tandoori Masala has more of a chili pepper spice and heat.
Garam Masala: Usually only added in smaller amounts to your dish. It translates to a hot spice blend, but is a heat that is different from the heat of a chili pepper. The spices used in this blend are more referenced to a heat that is supposed to warm the body. The spice blends can vary depending on the regional preference or based on the preference of the chef for your dish.
Another difference between Tandoori and Garam? The spices in Garam are usually toasted before using.
They can be used interchangeably with each other, just keep in mind that Tandoori will have some extra spiciness to it.
Are there any Variations for this Tandoori Masala?
Sure! We can change up almost any recipe, at least a little bit here and there.
Like I already mentioned you can use any type of chicken you want. I’m gonna choose chicken thighs most of the time, I find it has so much more flavor and doesn’t dry out like chicken breasts. A lot of traditional Tandoori Chicken recipes will use bone-in legs and thighs. The bones add more flavor to the meat and keep it juicy.
You can make your own Masala mix from scratch. I listed the basic ingredients for it. Again the reason I got the Shan Tandoori Masala mix was that I didn’t have most of the spices. I found it to be so much cheaper just to buy the mix unless you already have a lot of middle eastern spices in your cabinet, which I don’t. You can buy a 6-pack on Amazon for around $9.00.
Here’s a side note about the Shan Tandoori Masala Mix though, on the back of the box you follow the directions with the added ingredients. BUT you do not need to add the Red Food Dye. I know some recipes out there have it added, but I find it completely unnecessary. Sure it adds a bright color to your chicken, but it’s a chemical that a lot of people are actually allergic to and doesn’t have any good health benefits. So, in my opinion, you don’t need it at all.
I use chopped fresh parsley on top of my lettuce wraps. But you can substitute it or simply add other fresh herbs. Because I’m topping the whole dish off with a mint chutney sauce, adding fresh mint leaves would be delicious. Another option is also to add some fresh cilantro. I’d say these 3 herbs would be your best choices.
Step by Step instructions for making Chicken Masala Lettuce Wraps:
First, you’ll start off with making your marinade.
Squeeze your fresh lemon, we need about 5-6 tablespoons, then set aside. In a small mixing bowl add your yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, and 1 packet of Shan Tandoori Masala Mix. With a whisk, mix well.
Put chicken pieces in either a Ziploc gallon sized bag or in a medium-sized bowl. Pour marinade over chicken and stir.
You might need to get your hands in there and really make sure all your chicken is coated. Now put in the fridge for no less than 3 hours, but for best results, I recommend letting it marinate overnight.
Once the chicken is done marinating, now it’s time to cook it. Preheat grill to medium-high heat, and add the chicken. Cook for about 15 minutes with lid closed for the majority of cook time.
When chicken is done bring it inside and let it rest for a few minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Take a head of romaine lettuce and peel off all its leaves. Rinse and then pat each one dry.
Get ready to cry….it’s time to cut your red onion. I sliced mine, but feel free to either slice or dice them. It makes no difference at all.
Rinse your head of fresh parsley and cut up about half of it.
Let’s make our easy Mint Chutney Sauce: In a small bowl mix 1 cup of Greek Yogurt and 2 Tablespoons of the Mint Chutney. Stir it together. Ok, that’s it…see it’s super easy and simple.
Now cut the chicken into slices on a cutting board.
Now it’s time to assemble the lettuce wraps. Place 2 lettuce leaves on a plate. Slice your chicken and place on top of each piece of lettuce. Then put the sliced onion and fresh parsley over the chicken. Take 2 spoonfuls of the mint chutney sauce and drizzle over the entire lettuce wrap. Now it’s time to dig in!!
Can I Bake this Tandoori Chicken Recipe in the Oven?
My first choice is to always grill this Tandoori Chicken. But let’s face it if you live in a place like me, you’re not going to want to go outside in the middle of winter when it’s 20 degrees out and stand at the grill for 15 minutes freezing to death.
So baking this in the oven is definitely an option. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Lightly coat a baking tray with oil or a cooking spray, and place chicken on tray. For bone-in chicken cook for about 30-40 minutes, and for boneless cook for about 20-30 minutes.
Turn chicken over halfway through cooking time. Once just about cooked, turn the broiler on high and cook until chicken is starting to darken. Just keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
Is This Tandoori Masala Low Carb and Keto Friendly? Or is it suitable for other diets?
Please read this section carefully.
For starters you’re putting it on large leaves of lettuce, does it get more low carb than that? But in all seriousness though, it’s Keto friendly and Low Carb.
If you buy the Shan Tandoori Masala Mix, it’s not certified Gluten-Free. According to the packages ingredients label, it says that it may contain traces of Gluten and Tree Nuts. So if you are severely allergic to Gluten or Tree Nuts please DON’T use the Packet. If you want to make the Masala spice mixture from scratch, please double check for 100% accuracy that each spice is Gluten-Free.
What if I don’t like Lettuce Wraps?
That’s ok, it’s not for everyone. But what can you serve with this instead? You can serve this Keto Tandoori Chicken with a side of Indian Cauliflower Rice, you can make Paleo Naan Bread to serve it with. It also goes great with a lot of different yummy vegetables such as:
Zucchini and Summer Squash
Sauteed Peppers and Onions
Other Similar Recipes:
If you’re in the mood for some other Keto Chicken recipes then try our:
To make the marinade, combine 1 cup of greek yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, and 1 packet of Shan Tandoori Masala Mix. Stir until well mixed.
Place chicken in a Ziploc bag or medium-sized bowl, and pour marinade over chicken. Mix up really well, making sure all the chicken is completely coated. Put in the fridge for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight.
When ready to cook, preheat grill to medium-high. Place chicken on hot grill and cook for about 15 minutes, with the lid shut for most of the cooking time. Once cooked, bring inside and let rest while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Rinse and dry 12large leaves of Romaine lettuce. Place 2 on each plate.
Slice the red onion, and chop about ½ of the bunch of fresh parsley.
To make the mint chutney sauce, take a small bowl and mix together 1 cup of greek yogurt and 2 Tbsp of mint chutney. Stir until well mixed.
Slice the chicken and put it on top of your lettuce. Then add sliced onions and fresh parsley. Drizzle 2 spoonfuls of your sauce on top.
Use skinless chicken thighs or drumsticks. Dark meat is going to be much better and won’t dry out like chicken breasts.
If using the Shan Tandoori Masala Mix, it has traces of Gluten and Tree Nuts, so if allergic please DO NOT USE.
When making your own Masala Mix from scratch, please double check at all spices don’t have gluten in them if you have an allergy.
Shan Masala Mix calls for Red Food Dye, it is NOT necessary.
Chicken needs to be marinated for at least 3 hours, but the best results are letting it marinate overnight.
Nutrition facts include 2 Tablespoons of Mint Chutney Sauce, feel free to leave that out if you don’t like the sauce.