Easy Tandoori Salmon (Oven Baked)

Healthy oven-baked tandoori salmon tikka in 10 minutes (that does not use food coloring). More importantly, melt-in-your-mouth salmon that is full of smoky tandoori flavors and not dry and rubbery.

About the recipe

Have you ever taken a bite of tandoori salmon that looked bright orange and appetizing, but was disappointed to find that it tasted bland and overcooked? I’ve experienced that several times and I’m sure you must have, too.

That’s when I decided to bake my own salmon tandoori, also called salmon tikka. This recipe took a lot of effort, I should say the most number of trials, to get it right. Testing the recipe (until I was satisfied) was the hardest part.

Cooking Indian salmon recipes is a bit tricky. Especially tandoori flavors are quite overpowering. It works perfectly well with recipes like tandoori chicken legs and tandoori cauliflower. But salmon has a unique flavor of its own. I feel it is a sin to overpower that amazing flavor πŸ˜‰

Long story short, I settled for a toned-down version of tandoori marinade that will allow the salmon flavor to shine through. So here is the final result of all my efforts which will help you make the best tandoori salmon tikka. Make sure you read the tips and tricks below to make the best use of this recipe.

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Why you’ll love this baked tandoori salmon recipe

  1. A quick and easy salmon recipe like most of my seafood recipes.
  2. The balanced combination of salmon and tandoori flavors gives you the salmon tikka that does not taste over-seasoned.
  3. Salmon is not overcooked and rubbery since we broil it for a very short period. (This is in contrast to the baked salmon kabobs recipe where we cook at a low temperature for a long period. They turn out soft and juicy, but not browned.
  4. You can achieve the signature bright-red “tandoori” look and smoky flavor using natural healthy ingredients. No food colors are used in this recipe. The trick is to….(Have some patience, my friend! Read further…)

Ingredients

Labelled ingredients for tandoori salmon recipe.
  • Salmon: Try to buy thin fillets with thickness of less than 1 inch. Thinner pieces work well for this recipe.
  • melted butter or ghee: for basting the salmon before broiling. Oil can also be used, but ghee/ butter gives a rich flavor and brighter color to the tandoori salmon.
  • mustard oil: Again, a unique flavor you wouldn’t want to miss. That being said, you don’t have to kill yourself if you can’t find it. You can settle for any cooking oil, preferably vegetable oil.
  • yogurt: A must-have ingredient for tandoori masala. 1 tablespoon is enough for this recipe.
  • lemon juice: for the tang.
  • spices
    • Kashmiri chili powder: it imparts a bright red color to the dish without the heat of regular chili powder. It can be replaced with smoked paprika.
    • coriander powder
    • garam masala
    • turmeric powder
    • ground cumin
    • pepper & salt

How to make salmon tandoori masala (marinade)

(You can find the exact measurements and instructions in the recipe card at the end of this page.)

Here comes the important step. DO NOT skip this: Heat mustard oil in a small pan for about 5 minutes on medium flame. Heat until you get the aroma of toasted oil. Do not let it smoke. Add the hot oil to Kashmiri chili powder in a bowl. Mix well and let it cool.

Once it cools down, add the rest of the marinade ingredients and mix well.

How to make tandoori salmon

Tandoori salmon tikka on a white plate with mint sauce drizzled on them.
  1. Remove skin and bones if any, from the salmon fillets and chop them into about 2-inch pieces. Add the marinade and mix well until all the pieces are coated with it.
  2. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 390°F.
  4. Arrange the salmon pieces on a baking tray.
  5. Brush with melted butter.
  6. Set the oven to “broil” mode.
  7. Place the tray in the middle rack of the oven and broil for 5 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving platter.
  9. Serve with mint yogurt sauce.
Salmon tandoori pieces with mint sauce and a fork with a piece of salmon.

Recipe tips

  • Hot mustard oil with chili powder is responsible for the smoky flavor and the bright colour of this baked tandoori salmon. Try not to skip this step.
  • Contrary to popular belief, this tandoori salmon tastes better if marinated longer. I have tested up to 5 hours and it tasted amazing. The marinade is better absorbed and flavorful on the inside, too (Regular visitors here know that I’m always obsessed with flavors). This recipe beats the claim that salmon should be marinated for only a maximum of 30 minutes.
  • Ensure that you place the baking tray in the middle rack. While testing, I realised that salmon gets overcooked if placed in the top rack.
  • DO NOT broil for more than 5 minutes, unless your salmon pieces are more than 1-inch thick.
Salmon tandoori on a white plate served with a bowl of mint sauce.

What to serve with tandoori salmon tikka

It tastes great as an appetizer with restaurant-style green chutney.

Salmon tandoori can also be served with flavored rice like lemon rice or coconut cauliflower rice, for a low carb option.

It can also be served with rice and curry like chana masala or palak dal.

If you’re looking for low carb seafood dinner, pair tandoori salmon tikka with simple chana salad, fruit chaat, chana dal salad with honey ginger dressing, or black chana soup.

More salmon recipes

More tandoori recipes

Closeup view of tandoori salmon garnished with mint leaves on a black plate.

Easy Tandoori Salmon Recipe (Oven Baked)

Oven-baked tandoori salmon tikka that takes 10 minutes of active cooking time. More importantly, melt-in-your-mouth salmon that is full of smoky tandoori flavor and not dry and rubbery.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
marinating time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 246 kcal

Ingredients
  

Tandoori salmon

  • 500 grams salmon (18 oz)
  • teaspoons oil, ghee, or melted butter

Salmon tandoori masala

  • 2 teaspoons mustard oil
  • 2 teaspoons Kashmiri chili powder (or smoked paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon pink salt (or sea salt)

Instructions
 

Salmon tandoori masala

  • Take Kashmiri chili powder in a small bowl. Heat mustard oil in a small pan. (Do not let it smoke, heat until you get the aroma of toasted oil.)
    Pour the oil on chili powder while still hot. Mix well until it dissolves and you get a bright red color. Let it cool down.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients for tandoori masala and whisk.

Marinate

  • Remove skin (and bones, if any) from the salmon fillets and chop them into 2-inch pieces.
  • Add tandoori masala and marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 390°F.

Roast

  • Place salmon pieces on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Brush with oil/ ghee/ melted butter.
  • Set the oven to "broil" mode and place the tray in the middle rack of the oven. Broil for 5 to 7 minutes depending on the thickness of salmon. (see notes 1 & 2)
  • Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving platter. Serve with restaurant-style green chutney as an appetizer or as a main dish with flavored rice like lemon rice.

Notes

  1. Thinner pieces of salmon turn out juicier. Choose fillets that are less than 1 inch thick.
  2. Ensure that you place the baking tray in the middle rack of the oven to get perfectly juicy tandoori salmon.
  3. If time permits, marinate longer, for up to 5 hours. The longer you marinate, the more flavorful is the tandoori salmon.
Easy Tandoori Salmon (Oven Baked)
Keyword Indian salmon recipes, salmon tandoori, salmon tandoori masala, tandoori salmon oven, tandoori salmon recipe, tandoori salmon tikka

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Thank you and happy cooking!

– Sheeba.

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