Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Yogurt Spiced Chicken with Cucmber Mint Salad

Subconsciously, cumin must be my favorite spice. In going back through my past posts, just about everything has cumin in it - soup, chili, this. It's amazing because it's so versatile but to be honest, it's not a spice I would label as a favorite. There's something about the smell of cumin that I just don't love... I can't put my finger what that is exactly, but it obviously doesn't bother me that much because here I am, cooking with it constantly. I could go into a long drawn-out debate outlining the subconscious versus conscious, but will save that for another day...or not. I actually like having readers and don't want to scare ya'll away this early on!

I found this recipe when I was looking for a way to use cilantro since my home-grown stock is quickly growing faster than I can use it. Indian food is something I really have to crave to enjoy and I really liked the chicken the night I made it... unfortunately, the appeal was gone the next day when I brought it into work for lunch. I can't emphasize this enough - it's not the recipe... it's me. And my weird love/hate relationship with cumin.

That being said, this was a pretty cumin-heavy dish. If you like curried chicken, you will definitely like this recipe. The scent that hit me while it was baking reminded me of walking into an Indian restaurant - lots of spice and flavor, without being too overwhelming. The yogurt marinade kept the chicken moist and I paired it with a minted cucumber salad, based on a recipe my mom makes frequently. The flavors together were a great combination of spicy and sweet, hot and cool - slightly contradictory in description but pairs nicely together and perfectly matches the sunny/rainy/warm/cold weather we've been having lately in Seattle.

The Recipe:Yogurt Curried Chicken (as adapted from Chocolate Shavings)
Servings: 2-3
Prep time: 2 hours
Cooking time: 15 minutes

2 skinless chicken breasts
1 cup of plain greek yogurt
1 tablespoon of coriander powder
2 teaspoons of cumin powder
1 tablespoon of grated ginger
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons of curry powder*
2 teaspoons of kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

Garnish/Serving recommendations:
1 lime
1/4 cup of sour cream
A handful of cilantro, coarsely chopped
Naan bread
*Note: The recipe calls for curry powder, which (for whatever reason) I didn't seem to have in my kitchen. I used my favorite cooking sidekick, the Food Substitutions Bible and made my own curry substitution using the following: turmeric, black pepper, mustard pepper, powdered ginger, allspice and cayenne pepper. It also called for additional cumin and coriander, but I left that out, just because.

1. Mix the yogurt, spices, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl. Cut the chicken breasts into bite size cubes and add to the yogurt mixture. Toss to coat all the pieces, refrigerate and marinate for 2 hours.
2. Preheat your oven to 350F**. Remove the chicken from the bowl, shaking off any excess marinade. Place the chicken on the grill sheet that goes in your oven, and place an aluminum-lined sheet below (marinade will drip down as it cooks).

3. Place the chicken in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Turn your oven to broil and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through.

**Note: These could also be put on skewers and cooked over the grill and they would be delicious.

The Recipe: Cucmber Mint Salad

Servings: 2-3
Prep time: 5 hours
Cooking time: 0 minutes

1 large cucumber
1/2 cup greek yogurt ("not the nonfat stuff" - direct instructions from my mother)
2 1/2 teaspoons dried mint flakes
Kosher salt

1. Peel the cucumber and cut into thin paper-slices (or as close as you can get).

2. Mix in a small bowl with yogurt and mint flakes. Salt to taste.


  1. OK. Yum. You are amazing! I love the window into this part of your world :) Congrats on the visiblity this one got too Vick! Validation of your secret passion that we all (especially me) admire!!

  2. 'Made this for the monkfish and myself last night...Delish! Looking forward to trying more of your tasty delights. You are such a talented gal.