Tandoori Chicken and Couscous
The secret ingredient to this tandoori chicken is the buttermilk used in the marinade. It tenderizes the chicken making it fall apart tender like it’s been slow cooked for hours. Buttermilk and chicken are no strangers. If you’ve ever had really good fried chicken I’m willing to bet a buttermilk soak was involved.
I love this recipe because it’s so quick to make and full of flavor. It’s easy to adjust depending on how much chicken you want to prepare. If the ginger, paprika, garam masala and turmeric are not spices you already have on hand I recommend you add them to your rotation. New flavors are the best way to break out of a food rut.
The down side of buying buttermilk is staring at the container for the next week wondering what you are going to do with the leftovers. Other than making more chicken which isn’t a bad idea, buttermilk makes fantastic pancakes or biscuits. Or you can be extra ambitious and make your own buttermilk ranch. I promise it won’t be that hard and it really does taste fabulous.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!
Tandoori Chicken and Couscous Recipe
- 2 Tbsp pine nuts
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 cup instant couscous
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/8 tsp turmeric
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- Pinch of black pepper
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 6 chicken tenders
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- 2 tsp ginger powder
- 1 and 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1 and 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
Make the Couscous
- In a small skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add 2 Tbsp pine nuts. Toast the nuts for 4-5 minutes, stirring often. (Be careful to not burn the them.) Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, bring 1/3 cup of water to a boil.
- Add a 1/2 cup of instant couscous. Turn off the heat and let set, covered for 2-3 minutes.
- Chop parsley leaves into 2 Tbsp.
- Remove the lid and stir in 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/8 tsp turmeric, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, the parsley, 1/8 tsp kosher salt, pinch of black pepper and 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add the toasted pine nuts. Return the lid and let set for another 2-3 minutes.
Make the Chicken
- Cut the chicken breasts or chicken tenders into 2-inch, bite-sized pieces.
- In a large dish, whisk together 1 cup buttermilk, 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 Tbsp paprika, 2 tsp ginger powder, 1 and 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1 and 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/4 tsp cardamom, 1 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper.
- Add the chicken pieces and coat in the marinade. Let the chicken marinade in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.
- Heat a drizzle of oil in grill pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook 2-3 minutes per side until thoroughly cooked.
Serve the chicken with the couscous.
If you grill the chicken, it is helpful to put the chicken on skewers so you can rotate the pieces at the same time. Food on a stick is more fun to eat anyway, and I’m pretty sure it tastes better too.
You can marinade the chicken overnight, but I don’t recommend it. The buttermilk will make the chicken mushy if you marinade it for too long. An hour is sufficient, but if you want the chicken ready after work, I recommend preparing the marinade and the chicken separately the night before and combining them in the morning before heading out the door. The chicken will be ready to go when you get home. The couscous only takes a few minutes so you’ll have a quick-to-prepare dinner.
If you don’t have couscous or are not a fan, serve the chicken over rice instead.