tandoori salmon

Tandoori Salmon Recipe

By Swasthi on April 9, 2023, Comments, Jump to Recipe

Tandoori Salmon is an Indian dish of marinated and roasted/grilled salmon in a Tandoor, a clay oven. Make this Homestyle Tandoori Salmon in the comfort of your home using an oven, air fryer or a pan on the stovetop. This recipe uses ground spices and lemon for the marinade and gets done under 20 mins. Serve it as an appetizer or a side with steamed rice, turmeric rice, raita or curry.

Tandoori salmon

About Tandoori Salmon

Tandoori is a cooking style where foods are cooked in a tandoor, a traditional cylindrical clay oven. The foods, usually meat is marinated with spices and yogurt, later grilled to perfection. A tandoor can produce very high heat that helps the food to char, while it cooks.

The fats in the marinade drip on the fire/hot coal and generate smoke which imparts the tandoori foods their characteristic smoky flavor. Tandoori foods are one of the most ordered in Indian restaurants.

The popular Garlic Naan, Tandoori Roti, Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Tikka Kebabs and Paneer Tikka all come from the tandoor in restaurants. Making these foods at home is much easier than you think and indeed healthy. If you are a fan of the smoky flavor you can also smoke the meat before or after grilling.

This Tandoori Salmon is made much the same way but grilled/roasted in a oven, air fryer or pan (on the stovetop). You will love this masala for its flavor and taste! This recipe is dairy free, gluten-free & super quick to make.

For Tandoori Salmon, I do not use yogurt which is a key ingredient in tandoori recipes. Yogurt is used as a meat tenderizer. Since salmon does not require a tenderizer & cooks easily we don’t need it here.

But if you prefer it for the flavor, replace the 1 tablespoon oil with Greek yogurt (or Hung curd) or use Indian buttermilk (or yogurt whey) in place of water for the marinade.

Indian Tandoori Salmon

How to Make Tandoori Salmon (Stepwise Photos)

Preparation

1. Gather all your spices first and make the marinade. You can make the wet marinade ahead and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Alternately you may combine the ground spices and store in your cabinet for several weeks. Here is what you need for the marinade:

  • 1 tablespoon oil (olive/mustard/avocado or any other of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or lime juice)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 teaspoon garlic paste)
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger powder (optional or ½ teaspoon ginger paste)
  • ⅓ to ½ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • ⅛ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ to 1 tablespoon Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1  to 1¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 to 1¼ teaspoon coriander powder
spices to make tandoori salmon marinade

2. The following spices add another layer of flavors to the tandoori salmon. If you don’t have you may skip. For chaat masala you can use half teaspoon amchur and ¼ teaspoon more cumin powder.

  • 1 tablespoon Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper (powder)
  • ¾ teaspoon Chaat masala (I also prefer ½ teaspoon fennel powder , optional)
optional spices for tandoori marinade

3. Add all these to a prepared baking tray (if preferred line with a foil). I usually marinate and grill directly on the baking pan/tray in baking in oven.

add the spices to a baking tray

4. Mix all the spices and pour the oil and lemon juice.

mix spices with liquid

5. Begin to mix, adding more water only as required. I use about 3 to 4 tablespoons.

pour water to mix the marinade

6. Mix well to make a thick marinade. We don’t want the marinade to be runny as it drips off the fish. Taste this and make your own adjustments like adding more salt, lemon etc.

thick marinade for tandoori salmon

7. Place your salmon on the baking tray/pan and pat dry with kitchen tissue.

pat dry salmon

8. Smear the marinade all over on both the sides. If you are baking it in the oven, put the tray as is in the preheated oven (salmon skin side down in the pan). Bake at 390 F or 200 C for 10 to 12 mins. Later broil for 3 to 4 mins. Adjust the baking time depending on the thickness of the salmon fillet, size of the oven and the kind of pan used. These timings work for me in a metal tray. If using a otg, cut down the time. (Read my pro tips for more details)

marinated salmon

In the Air Fryer

9. If your air fryer requires preheating, preheat it for 2 mins at 390 F or 200 C. Optionally spray oil lightly over your air fryer basket/ tray. Or for a easier clean you may line a foil.

prepare air fryer

10. Place the marinated salmon in the basket.

salmon fillets in air fryer

11. Air fry at 390 F or 200 C, for 7 to 10 mins depending on the thickness of your fillet. Fillets around 1 inch thick need 8 to 9 mins. I did mine for 10 mins. Smaller air fryer takes a little lesser time. If fully cooked, it should flake easily when you poke it with a fork. Alternately check with a instant read thermometer. Internal temperature should be 145F.

It is normal for the masala to brown and is not a sign of being burnt.

air fryer tandoori salmon

To Cook in a Pan on the Stove

Pour 1 tablespoon oil to a non-stick pan and heat it. Spread the oil very well all over the pan and wait until the pan is hot enough (medium hot), not smoking hot. Regulate the flame to medium. Gently place the salmon in the oil (skin side down) and let cook until you see half of the fillet from the bottom has changed to a lighter color.

If you feel the masala is burning, reduce the heat to low. Gently turn it to the other side with a large spatula. It’s okay if some of the masala comes off the fish, add that back to the pan. Cook for a few more minutes until cooked through. To test if it is done, poke with a fork, it flakes easily like shown in the picture below.

I have more tips & tricks below in the pro tips section.

Sprinkle lemon juice or a brush with oil if you want. Serve with steamed rice

Tandoori salmon

Pro Tips

Extra Marinade: This recipe will make a little extra marinade. I usually leave that on the tray if baking. If air frying, I put the marinade in a small steel plate and air fry for 2 to 3 mins. It cooks down to a brown color masala. It tastes delicious which we usually serve with the rice.

Baking: Baking time depends on the thickness of your fillet. Thinner fillets take lesser time and thicker take longer. Otg or a smaller oven cooks faster, so cut down the time and keep monitoring. If required you can also reduce the temp by 20 F or 10 C. If there is no broil function in your oven, simply move the tray to the top rack and bake for another 2 to 3 mins only.

Air fryer: I do not preheat my air fryer. If yours’ require, you may do it. The given air fryer timings are for a XXL air fryer. Cut down the temperature if using a smaller air fryer or follow the instructions in your manual for grilling fish. For easier clean, line your basket with a foil.

Pan-frying: Don’t start with a cold salmon. Bring it to room temperature or at least near to room temp before cooking. Make sure you don’t use too much oil. Do not place the salmon in the cold pan, the marinade is likely to get stuck to the cold pan. Monitor closely as you cook. It only takes a few seconds for the perfectly cooked masala to burn.

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

tandoori salmon recipe

Tandoori Salmon Recipe (Indian Salmon Recipe)

This easy Tandoori Salmon is made under 15 mins. Salmon is marinated in spices and herbs, later cooked in a oven or air fryer. Serve as an appetizer or a side.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Servings4
AuthorSwasthi
Diet : Gluten Free

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • 1.2 lbs. Boneless Salmon fillets (550 grams)
  • ⅓ to ½ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ to 1 tablespoon Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1 to 1¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 to 1¼ teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 teaspoon garlic paste)
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger powder (or ½ teaspoon ginger paste)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or lime juice)
  • 1 tablespoon oil (olive oil/mustard oil/avocado oil or any)

Optional but recommended

  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper (optional)
  • ¾ teaspoon Chaat masala (or ¾ tablespoon more lemon juice or ½ tsp amchur powder + ¼ tsp cumin powder)
  • 1 tablespoon Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)

Instructions

How to Make Tandoori Salmon

  • If using oven, preheat it to 200 C or 390 F for at least 15 mins.
  • Add all the spices, salt & kasuri methi to a prepared baking tray, lined with a foil. Mix together and make a well in the center. (if you are air frying, you may use a mixing bowl instead)
  • Pour oil and lemon juice. Begin to mix adding more water until it becomes a smooth thick paste. We don't want a runny marinade. Taste this and adjust salt and lemon juice.
  • Pat dry your salmon with kitchen tissues and transfer to the baking tray. Smear the marinade on both the sides. If you want you may rest for 15 mins but that is optional.
  • In the oven: Bake at 390 F or 200 C for 10 to 12 mins. Later broil for 3 to 4 mins.
  • In the Air Fryer: If your air fryer requires preheating do it for 2 mins at 390 F or 200 C. Spray oil lightly into your basket/tray. Place the marinated salmon fillets in the basket/tray.
  • Air fry at 390 F or 200 C, for 7 to 10 mins depending on the thickness of your fillet. Fillets around 1 inch thick need 8 to 9 mins.
  • To check if it is fully cooked, poke it with a fork. It should flake easily. You may check using a instant read thermometer. Internal temperature should be 145F.
  • Serve Tandoori salmon hot or warm as an appetizer or a side. Drizzle some lemon juice if required.

Notes

  1. I also prefer to use ½ teaspoon fennel powder for a floral/sweeter flavor. It rounds up all the other flavors.
  2. If you have extra marinade leave it on the baking tray while baking. It won’t burn. If using air fryer, transfer the extra leftover marinade to a small steel bowl and air fry for 2 to 3 mins in the next batch after the salmon. This masala actually tastes delicious.

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.

Video

Watch Indian Tandoori Salmon Video

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Tandoori Salmon Recipe (Indian Salmon Recipe)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 236 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Trans Fat 0.01g
Polyunsaturated Fat 5g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 75mg25%
Sodium 275mg12%
Potassium 713mg20%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 0.2g0%
Protein 28g56%
Vitamin A 415IU8%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 27mg3%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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© Swasthi’s Recipes

Tandoori Salmon Recipe

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
Fantastic spice blend. I love your tandoori chicken and this salmon is delicious too. Thank you

5 stars
5 star recipe like your others. Turned out 😊.

5 stars
Loving your recipes. Tandoori salmon turned out great.

5 stars
Turned out delicious.

5 stars
This is an amazing recipe. I made it on the weekend. Baked in the oven at 400 F. Turned out fantastic. Thank you