Yogurt Marinated Chicken, or How I Came to Love Garam Masala

I really like trying out authentic (or not so authentic) recipes from other cultures in my own kitchen.  I love American standby recipes, but in the grand global scheme of things American food can sometimes be pretty boring.  We’re certainly not a culture that embraces intense or “challenging” flavor profiles.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the American standards, but sometimes I just really crave something spicy, flavorful, and different.

Anyhoo, I had my first taste of real Indian food last year at a lovely little restaurant called Bombay Mahal in Brunswick.  If you’re in the area, I highly recommend it.  Their coconut soup, lamb curry, and naan is TO. DIE. FOR.

I also really like recipes for sauces and marinades.  I don’t know why; dunking food in stuff and letting it sit for awhile is just fun, I guess.  Several weeks ago I’d come across an recipe for Indian-style yogurt marinated chicken at the Whole Foods Market website.  I can’t vouch for the authenticity of this recipe, as I have no idea what Indian dish they are attempting to replicate.  However, I can tell you that it is quick to make and super easy.  I made this dish for a quick weeknight dinner by setting the chicken to marinate in the fridge in the morning and then broiling the chicken when we were ready to eat.

The flavors in this marinade are unbelievable.  I’d never tried garam masala before, but I happened to have some on hand.  A little shop in North Conway, NH sells single-use packets of herbs and spices, called “Pinch Plus.”  The idea is that you can try a new spice mixture for less than $1.  If you don’t like it, then you don’t have a $6 jar of spices sitting in your kitchen cabinets until the Apolocalypse (which, from the looks of the BP oil gushage, could be sooner than we think).  Anyway, this is how I came to have a small pouch of garam masala in my posession.

The broiled chicken retained so much garlicky, gingery, spicy flavor.  The garam masala really came through with cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, and coriander notes.  Interestingly, those all start with the letter C…

I plan to make this recipe again very soon and use the grill instead of the broiler to cook the chicken.  As utterly delicious as the broiled chicken pieces were, I imagine that grilling could impart flavors to take it to the next level.

Indian-Style Spicy Yogurt Marinade
Adapted from Whole Foods Market
Makes about 1 3/4 cups marinade

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon garam masala
3 medium cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Put yogurt, oil, garam masala, garlic, ginger, and salt and pepper into a bowl and stir to make a marinade.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  Use within a couple of days.

To marinate chicken, season chicken pieces on both sides with salt and pepper.  Lay chicken pieces in a glass dish (or a large ziplock bag).  Pour marinade over chicken, shaking dish gently to evenly coat pieces.  Cover dish and place in refrigerator for 8-12 hours.  When ready to cook, remove chicken from marinade, wiping off excess.  Discard remaining marinade.  Grill or broil chicken pieces until cooked through and juices run clear, turning occasionally for even browning.

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3 responses to “Yogurt Marinated Chicken, or How I Came to Love Garam Masala

  1. Indian food… Be still my singing heart! They had a sale at Wegmans today, 3 TastyBites for $4.98. Totally not as good as restaurant or homemade, but a suitable stand-in in the meantime. =P

  2. 3 TastyBites for $4.98?? That is amazing! Here they are $2.99 apiece and they almost NEVER go on sale, it seems! You should stock up. 🙂 And, I so miss Wegmans!

  3. They’re always $2.99 here too! I ended up getting 3 and if they’re on sale next week I might get more. When you come down to get that furniture maybe you could make a Wegman’s pit stop. =P

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