Grilled Indian-Spiced Chicken

in Chicken & Turkey, Lighter & Healthier, On the grill

Grilled Indian-Spiced Chicken with Tomato-Yogurt Sauce

Jason and I, we’re a team. I cook, he cleans [update: AHAHAHAHAHAHA]. I whinemention that the kitchen stinks, he takes out the garbage. We share “early days,” alternating who gets “lucky” and has to get up with the toddler at 6 am. And we share menu planning duties.

The process is very technical. I ask him for 3 dinners, he shrugs and says, “I don’t know.” There’s usually a pile of magazines and cookbooks shoved his way before he responds, “Hamburgers, pizza, and Indian food.” Hamburgers, pizza, and Indian food. For real.

What he means by ‘Indian food’ is what happened when I tried to make butter chicken for only the second time… without internet access. I forgot the butter. And probably several other things. And I am completely okay with my great reliance on technology.

We ended up with diced chicken in a spicy tomato & yogurt sauce, served over brown rice, with a mile-high stack of garlicky naan nearby. It’s a little spicy. A little smokey. A little tangy. And with 5 different shades of brown, it’s way more than a little unphotogenic. So it evolved.

Grilling the chicken isn’t just a way to make dinner a little prettier. It also adds a wonderfully smokey, summery twist to the dish with the small identity crisis. It’s not really butter chicken – there’s no butter – so I can’t really call it that, can I? Obviously neither of us will ever be mistaken for experts on Indian cuisine anytime soon :) But we are slowly becoming fans. Big fans. For real.

Grilled Indian-Spiced Chicken with Tomato-Yogurt Sauce

Juicy grilled chicken served with a spicy tomato-yogurt sauce and rice.


  • For the chicken:
  • 6 chicken thighs
  • 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • For the rice:
  • 1 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 heaping Tbsp garam masala
  • 2/3 cup yogurt (I used Fage 0%)
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. To make the rice, add chicken broth, minced garlic, and rice to a pot or rice cooker and cook according to package directions.
  2. To make the chicken, heat grill to medium-high.
  3. Rub sat, pepper, and garam masala over the chicken thighs and between the meat and skin. (I use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs because they're very budget-friendly.)
  4. Grill 6-7 minutes on each side, until the skin is crispy and a thermometer reads 165-170.
  5. Remove from heat and tent loosely with foil.
  6. To make the sauce, heat oil over medium heat.
  7. Saute onions for ~5 minutes, until just beginning to brown.
  8. Add garlic and stir, cooking for another minute.
  9. Reduce heat to medium-low and add tomatoes and garam masala. (To make the dish toddler-friendly, only add 1 tsp of garam masala, set aside a spoonful of sauce, and then add the rest of the garam masala to the remaining sauce.)
  10. Stir occasionally and heat through, and then add yogurt.
  11. Cook only until heated through and remove from heat - too high heat or too long can cause the sauce to break and look grainy.
  12. Spoon sauce over rice and serve with chicken


Yields: 6 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 45 minutes

22 comments… add one

  • Yummy platter

  • I do this most of the time :)

  • That yogurt sauce looks so yummy. Awesome.

  • This looks great! Thanks for sharing. :)

  • Very cool. Indian has become one of my fave foods. Thank you for actually doing real Indian…not just putting Curry powder in a dish and calling it such.

  • Sounds amazingly delicious and so healthy too! I love Indian food…

  • This looks delicious! Great photo too.

  • Yum and this looks fantastic with all the 5 shades of brown! You always make food look hip and sexy. Too funny, I’m working on my blog post for a similar dish, too. I guess great kitchen minds must think alike!

  • This may not be authentic Indian, but it is indian FUSION at it’s finest! I’m with your husband…I want this weekly.

  • I need to make this ASAP! It combines two of my favorite things: grilling and Indian flavors!

  • I found you via My Life as a Mrs. The Indian yogurt sauce looks fantastic and I MUST try it. I’m absolutely going to explore your site more! :-)

  • LOVE this! I am going to make it soon!

  • when my husband cooks , it’s a mess .. so I ask him to prep.. saves my time! But yes when i say kitchen sticks .. he cleans :) This dish looks so delicious and love the color! As for butter chicken, I made it too without butter and it tastes good!

  • Hello ! We absolutely love your recipe and your food pictures, we would be glad if you could submit it to our site. Cheers :)

  • These.look.amazing. wow it must be lunch time bc im drooling! And your photography skills are awesome!

  • Heather E

    This looks great. Do you have a garlic naan recipe?

  • I do! I’m actually working on it now and I’ll be sharing it this week.

    • Heather E

      Oooh! I can’t wait to see it. I’ll be making this dish this week! :)

  • YUM!!!!!!!!!! Nice job. Easy weeknight meal, and so yummy.

  • Jenna

    WOW! amazing dish I did it with cauliflower rice and couldn’t even tell the diff it was AMAZING! Gone in a second! I also used the leftover chicken to do lettuce wraps with greek yogurt mixed with rooster sauce–TOO GOOD!!! Thx

  • Adam

    Really simple and really tasty! Cheers!

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