Food & dining

sunday supper

Piquant tandoori chicken on its own, then tucked into naan

Tandoori chicken.
Sally Pasley Vargas for The Boston Globe
Tandoori chicken.

The tandoor oven, a cylindrical clay cooking vessel with sloping sides used in India since ancient times, can reach temperatures upward of 500 degrees. Tandoori chicken made in the oven is typically marinated with yogurt and aromatics, and comes out stained red with chili powder, hot chilies, or red food coloring. Even without the traditional tandoor, you can re-create a similar dish at home (but it’s not red). Start by baking marinated chicken, then crisp it under the broiler to brown the flavorful crust and deliver succulent and piquant pieces.

Then assemble a picnic supper of Indian naan stuffed with chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers, and mint, served with a classic, refreshing cucumber raita (yogurt mixed with grated cukes). When the temperature rises, it’s always a good idea to look to the cultures who know what to eat in the heat.

Shopping list

(For tandoori chicken, naan sandwiches)


2 whole chickens (3½ to 4 pounds each), each cut

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into 8 pieces

2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt

4 tomatoes

2½ cucumbers


2 limes

½ medium onion

1 piece (2 inches) fresh ginger

3 cloves garlic

Few sprigs fresh parsley


Few sprigs fresh cilantro

1 bunch fresh mint

Salt and pepper

¼ cup vegetable oil

4 rounds naan

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground coriander

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

Sally Pasley Vargas can be reached at