Sunday, 20 March 2016

Tandoori Chicken Soup

With a request for Indian food for dinner, but no suitable meat to use, I decided to use the frozen chicken tenders to make a soup, using all the spices and flavours of tandoori chicken, and adding some canned tomatoes, chicken stock and coconut milk to make a broth.

When I make tandoori chicken I usually marinade the meat in yoghurt and spices, but as I only had a small amount of plain yoghurt I saved that for serving, and used up the last bit of buttermilk for the marinade. This allowed me to use both up at once, as well as the coconut milk that was in the fridge, leftover from a previous meal.

The result was delicious...served with naan bread and a dollop of plain Greek yoghurt; we ate it all! The recipe will serve four people...there were only two of us, but my husband had seconds and ate the last portion for lunch the next day. I guess I'll be making this again!

In a dish suitable for marinating, combine the spices:

1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon tandoori masala

Stir in:

3/4 cup buttermilk
Juice of half a lemon


8 chicken tenders

Mix gently, making sure that the chicken is well coated with the marinade.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Heat a large pot, suitable for making soup in, and add a drizzle of olive oil

Cook the chicken tenders, allowing any excess marinade to drip off before adding them to the pot.

Discard the remaining marinade.

When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pot and set aside until needed.

Turn the heat down to medium and add another drizzle of olive oil. Add:

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

Cook, stirring often,until the onions have softened.

Add the rest of the spices:

1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon sugar

Cook, stirring, for two minutes.

When the spices have cooked and are fragrant, add:

2 tablespoons tomato paste

Cook, stirring, for another two minutes.

Stir in:

1 14 ounce can of crushed tomatoes


3 cups of chicken stock

Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the onions are very soft.

Shred or dice the cooled, cooked chicken tenders.

Add the chicken to the soup, and simmer for another 5 minutes.


3/4 cup chick peas

Stir in:

1/2 cup coconut milk

Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve the soup, garnished with a dollop of plain Greek yoghurt, and accompanied by warm naan bread.

  • When making tandoori chicken, a tougher part of the chicken is usually used...thighs or drumsticks, so marinating is important for tenderizing as well as adding flavour. Chicken tenders, as the name says, are the most tender part of the chicken and do not need tenderizing. However, with thirty minutes in the marinade, a lot of flavour is added.
  • If you choose to use chicken thighs or drumsticks, leave them in the marinade for at least 6 - 6 hours, or even overnight.
  • Cooking the chicken with some of the  marinade increases that flavour, and also adds some of that spiciness to the pot. This is transferred to the vegetables and the broth when they are cooked in that same pot.
  • If you wish to use yoghurt for the marinade, substitute it directly for the buttermilk.
  • To make tandoori chicken, remove the chicken from the marinade and grill it. Serve it with rice or naan bread, or use it for sandwhiches, wraps or as a pizza topping.
  • Coconut milk is optional; use whipping cream instead, or omit it completely. It does add creaminess to the soup, which helps to cut through the acidity of the tomatoes. The little amount of sugar that is added does the same thing. If you find that the broth is still to acidic, add a bit more sugar.
  • This soup is a great way to use leftover cooked chicken; you will need to increase the spices in the broth. Add the spices from the marinade to the onions during cooking.
  • I added chick peas to my soup; they can be omitted or another type of beans can be used instead. If you want to make the soup vegetarian, instead of chicken add more chick peas, as well as vegetables such as carrots, eggplant, peppers, squash or peas.
  • Before garnishing the soup with the plain Greek yoghurt, consider adding another level of flavour by mixing it with lime juice, chopped fresh cilantro or ground cumin.

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