Yogurt Marinated Indian Spiced Grilled Chicken

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Jennifer Pallian
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I am a huge fan of plain yogurt. I much prefer it to the oversweetened flavoured varieties with ingredient lists a mile long or the icky, fake sugar stuff. I buy the higher-fat variety, which has more flavour and is much less sour than the thin, blue-ish fat-free option. I like the natural yogurt flavour with just a spoonful of sugar mixed in. You can alternatively stir in some honey or maple syrup, your favourite jam, or try it with a bit of vanilla extract and then sweeten to taste with sugar.

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On the savoury side, yogurt adds a tart richness to curries and pureed soups. I use it regularly to make creamy dips and salad dressings. I particularly love the flavour balance it brings to spicy marinades.

In this recipe, the natural acid in the yogurt serves to tenderize the chicken. I use it in combination with sour cream for added richness. The fat adds lots of flavour on its own, but it also helps carry the flavours of the spices. The result is a delicious flavourful, juicy grilled chicken, perfect alongside grilled corn.

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Yogurt Marinated Indian Spiced Grilled Chicken

You can adjust the heat to your taste by adding more or less cayenne. It would also be delicious with some chopped cilantro stirred into the marinade.

  • 1 cup yogurt

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

  • 1/2 tsp cayenne

  • 1 tbsp paprika

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp turmeric

  • 1 tsp coriander

  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves

  • 2 lbs bone-in chicken drumsticks or thighs (about 8 pieces)

1. Spread chicken pieces in a shallow baking dish. In a medium sized bowl, stir together yogurt, sour cream, garlic, lemon juice and spices. Pour yogurt mixture over chicken and stir to coat. Allow chicken to marinate at least 2 hours (up to 24 hours).

2. Preheat grill on high for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to medium and grill chicken for 25 to 30 minutes, turning once, until juices run clear when chicken is pierced. Serves 4.