How Many Pieces in Half Tandoori Chicken? The Real Answer

When it comes to Indian appetisers, there are few more appealing than a half tandoori chicken. Juicy, with a slightly smoky taste, this is one that you will want to try. However, how many pieces are in half tandoori chicken? Today I’ll talk you through this dish, tell you the number of pieces you can typically expect and even give you the calories.

Tandoori Chicken Half, How Many Pieces | The Quick Answer

Typically, you can expect to find 4 pieces of chicken in a tandoori chicken half. Most Indian restaurants will serve a chicken forequarter, consisting of a bone-in breast and a wing, alongside a leg quarter. The leg quarter includes the drumstick and the thigh.

While, technically, this is two pieces. Each piece will contain 2 different cuts of chicken consisting of white meat (breast) and dark meat (wing, drumstick and thigh), totalling four pieces.

A half tandoori chicken offers you a little of everything. The white meat is naturally lean, and the dark meat is rich in fat, giving you lots of tender juiciness and plenty of flavours.

Ordering half a tandoori chicken for the first time?

Here’s what you need to know…

What is Tandoori Chicken Half?

You can think of tandoori chicken as the perfect blend between barbecue chicken and roast chicken.

Tandoori chicken (either half, full or breast) is normally marinated in a special tandoori mix. This will typically include: -

  • Cumin (giving a smoky-sweet taste)
  • Paprika (again adding a subtle smoky and slightly sweet taste)
  • Kashmiri chilli powder (this adds a little heat and also a vibrant red colour)
  • Garam masala (giving a strong ‘Indian’ curry taste)
  • Garlic and ginger
  • Fresh coriander
  • Yoghurt
  • Lemon juice

And, of course, the signature of any good tandoori dish, a little food colouring to produce that signature vibrant red colour!

It’s normal that tandoori chicken is marinated for up to 24 hours. As it marinates, the flavour and colour soak through into the meat.

Once the marination is complete, the chicken is skewered before being roasted in a hot tandoor oven. This is one of the oldest methods of cooking.

A tandoor is a traditional wood (or coal) fired clay pot that roasts and smokes the meat. As the fat drips down, it contacts the side and bottom of the tandoor, imparting a wonderful smoky flavour.

You’ll tend to find (especially in the case of half tandoori chicken) that it is served ‘on the bone’. This allows for quicker cooking and ensures the dish stays a little juicy.  

Want to see how tandoori chicken is made. Here’s a quick video showing it being roasted in a tandoor: -

What Does Tandoori Chicken Taste Like?

Half tandoori chicken is one of the tastiest things on the menu. The tandoor oven will impart a strong smoky taste to the dish. The inclusion of both garlic and ginger means that it is also really fragrant and strong tasting.

Tandoori chicken is not typically a spicy dish. On a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being scorching hot, the tandoori chicken will sit somewhere in the region of a “2”. The chilli included in the recipe is used more for colour and flavour than heat.

You can normally expect to find tandoori chicken is served with the skin. This skin has a small layer of fat which ensures that the exterior of the dish goes a little crispy (the burnt, blackened bits are the best!).

You’ll also detect ‘Indian’ notes, brought about by combining both garam masala (which means hot spice mix) and cumin.

Tandoori chicken is a dry dish. It is rarely served with a curry sauce. However, you can often expect it to be accompanied by a yoghurt-based raita-style sauce.

How Many Calories are in Half a Tandoori Chicken?

Half tandoori chicken is a great choice if you are counting calories. You can expect that half a tandoori chicken will contain around 500 – 700 calories. This might be slightly less as much of the fat contained within the meat will be lost during roasting in the tandoor.

Want to double-check?

Here’s the breakdown according to Myfitnesspal: -

Half Tandoori Chicken Piece

Typical Calories







Breast (skin on 180.0g)


Total calories


Obviously, the above will depend on the size of the portion. On doing a little more research, MyFoodDiary would appear to generally agree with the above calculation. Tandoori chicken isn’t too dissimilar to rotisserie chicken in substance and calories.

Is Tandoori Chicken Healthy?

Tandoori chicken is relatively healthy. As Indian food goes, it is one of the leanest choices you can choose. Chicken is high in protein and naturally low in fat. Furthermore, the style in which tandoori chicken is cooked reduces the fat even further.

Aside from the marinade, little is added to tandoori chicken that would make it less healthy. There are no added fats, and the marinade ingredients are often low in calories too.

There is a slight downside, however.

Don’t blow the diet with calorie-laden side dishes when ordering half tandoori chicken.

Half tandoori chicken is healthy. Half tandoori chicken with chips, naan, curry sauce and a beer isn’t quite as good for you!

It is worth noting that if your tandoori chicken is served skin-on, the calories will eb higher than if served without skin. Chicken skin is also high in cholesterol. The University of California, San Francisco recommends keeping your daily cholesterol intake to less then 300 milligrams per day.

Skin on rotisserie chicken could contain up to 329mg of cholesterol, meaning it should be considered a ‘treat’ instead of something you want to eat daily.

Is Eating Half a Chicken Too Much?

Half a chicken? That’s a lot, right?

Well, yes and no. If you order this dish, then it is unlikely that you will want to order another ‘main course’ afterwards. Meat, as a protein, offers a lot of food satiety, meaning you will feel full quickly.

From a calorie point of view, half tandoori chicken isn’t too bad. When you consider that an 8oz ribeye steak alone would weigh in at around 530 calories, plus it is higher in fat, tandoori chicken isn’t all that bad considering how much you are getting.

Want that in real terms?

To burn off the average calorific intake from eating half tandoori chicken, you’d need to do one of the following (for the average person): -

  • Walk for 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • Jog for 30 minutes
  • Cycle at a moderate pace for 30 minutes
  • Swim for around 40 minutes

Half tandoori chicken may appear to be a lot. But when you take the fact that it is served bone-in, this adds to the ‘bulk’ of the dish significantly. This means that even if you can pick those bones clean (hint, you will), things will still be left on the plate at the end of the meal.

However, if you feel it is too much, here’s a solution.

  • See if the restaurant offers quarter tandoori chicken
  • Order half a tandoori chicken to share.

Half tandoori chicken is great if you are feeling social, it would easily serve two people as a shared starter!

How Many Pieces in Half Tandoori Chicken? | Final Thoughts…

Well, now you know the answer. Normally, you’ll get four pieces, although these may be combined in two ‘cuts’. Tandoori chicken is great as a shared starter and works well as a main dish for one. It is naturally low in fat, mild, and really tasty.

Want to have a go at cooking tandoori at home? Check out this tasty lamb chop recipe. Alternatively, here’s a guide to making an authentic Indian takeaway tandoori marinade. It works with any meat!

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