The term Tandoori is Indian.
It means the dish is made in a Tandoor, or clay oven. Of course you don’t need to have a tandoor oven to make a tandoori recipe!
It signals the present of a yogurt or buttermilk in the sauce ingredients, which makes the chicken or fish prepared this way incredibly moist and tender.
For fish dishes, using yogurt or buttermilk is no trouble.
But for chicken I need a dairy-free version. I obtain the buttermilk/yogurt tang and texture by making a soy milk-lemon juice mixture curdle: It only takes seconds, and is very useful not only for this Tandoori dish, but for many other dishes calling for yogurt or buttermilk: Blinis, corn bread, lemon cake, salad dressings, etc…. Soy milk is the only dairy-free milk that will curdle with the addition of lemon juice or vinegar, so don’t try with rice, almond or other dairy-free milks.
If you would rather not use soy, use coconut yogurt.
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons curry, a little more if you like it hotter
- 1/3 cup lemon juice or lime juice
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
- 3 pounds salmon or other thick fish, sliced 1 1/2 inch wide, or cubed 2 inches.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Combine the soy milk and the lemon juice in a large mixing bowl. the mixture will curdle. If you used coconut yogurt, or plain yogurt, use it directly, without lemon juice: There's no need to let it curdle.
In a food processor, place the olive oil, curry, lemon or lime juice, pepper, onion, and ginger, and grind finely. You will obtain a slightly runny paste. Transfer this mixture to a mixing bowl with the reserved soy mixture.
Rub the fish with this mixture. Place on a baking sheet in one layer, liquids and all.
Bake for about 20 minutes. Serve hot.
Proceed just as above, using a dozen drumsticks and thighs (12 pieces total). Cook about 40 minutes, or a little longer.