Recipe: Tandoori Chicken Pizza

Recipe: Tandoori Chicken Pizza

(Image credit: Michelle Peters-Jones)

Phew, it is finally Friday. After a whirlwind busy week of school, after-school activities, work, and writing, Friday night is my night to chill and relax with my family, along with some pizza and wine. And what better way to fuse East and West, than this tandoori chicken pizza?

(Image credit: Michelle Peters-Jones)

I usually prep for my pizza the night before, after my daughter is in bed. I get the chicken in its marinade and make the pizza dough, which always benefits from a slow rise in the fridge. It's just a little work done ahead of time, but it makes dinner the next day come together so much quicker.

To make life even easier on yourself, you can also buy fresh pizza dough from a grocery store, or if you have some frozen dough, all you have to do is leave it to defrost before you leave for work or school in the morning. I marinate the chicken in my special blend of tandoori spices, but you can also buy pre-made tandoori marinades or use a boxed spice mix. I also often use jarred tomato sauce.

I love this pizza because it is the perfect blend of spicy, sweet, salty, and smoky. The feta cheese adds a delicate saltiness to this pizza, but you can also substitute chevre or mozzarella to suit you own preferences. Arugula works beautifully instead of cilantro as well.

(Image credit: Michelle Peters-Jones)

Tandoori Chicken Pizza

Makes 2 large pizzas, serves 4 to 6

For the pizza dough (or substitute 1 1/2 pounds of your favorite homemade or store-bought dough):
2 cups bread flour
1 cup Italian 00 flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil

For the tandoori chicken:
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons tandoori spice blend
Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
Salt (see Recipe Notes)
1 tablespoon neutral oil, plus extra to drizzle
3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 4 whole thighs)

For the pizza:
1 medium red or yellow bell pepper
1 cup tomato sauce
1 small red onion, finely sliced
3 1/2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Small handful fresh cilantro

Make the pizza dough: Sift the flours together into a large bowl and mix in the salt. Dissolve the yeast in the water and then add the olive oil. Make a well in the middle of the flours, and drizzle in the water-yeast-oil mixture. Bring the mixture together into a soft dough, adding a little extra water if needed.

Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface, and knead for about 7 minutes, until smooth and silky. Place in an oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rest in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours, until doubled. Alternatively, place in the fridge for a slow rise.

Marinate the chicken: Whisk together the yogurt, tandoori spice mix, lemon juice, salt (if using), and oil in a bowl. Add the chicken thighs and stir so the thighs are coated in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight, if possible.

When ready to make pizzas, preheat oven to 400°F (if you use a pizza stone, place it in the oven now). Place the dough and marinated chicken on the counter so they can warm to room temperature.

Place the chicken in a single layer on a grilling pan, along with the whole red pepper. Drizzle with a little neutral oil, and roast the chicken and pepper for 30 minutes, turning once, until the chicken thighs register 165°F on an instant-read thermometer. Once roasted, shred the chicken. Peel the skin from the red pepper and slice it into long strips.

Increase oven temperature to 450°F.

Divide the pizza dough into two and roll out each piece into circles to your desired thickness. Place one circle on a floured pizza peel (or on top of a baking sheet), and spread 1/2 cup of tomato sauce. Top the pizza with the roasted red pepper, tandoori chicken, red onion, and feta cheese and slide it into the oven; bake the pizza either on top of the pizza stone or on the baking sheet.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes (depending on the thickness of your pizza), until the dough looks golden and the toppings are hot. Take out of the oven and scatter the fresh cilantro on top. Repeat with the second pizza. Slice and serve.

Recipe Notes

  • Some store-bought tandoori spice blends have salt already added to them. In this case, skip the salt. If using homemade spice mix, add salt to taste.
  • Replace the cilantro with arugula for a fresh, spicy taste.
  • I like to use arrabbiata pasta sauce, but any tomato sauce will do.
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