Yogurt Spiced Chicken with Spicy Sweet Curry Sauce

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Perhaps not the pretties plate of eatin’ you ever laid eyes on, but presentations aside it was darned well tasty!

What? I don’t talk like that… *scratches head, confused*

Alright, so last night was a rough one – I knew what I wanted to make for dinner well in advance, had bought the ingredients and marinated the chicken… but somehow when it came down to making the food, my mind just scattered in a million different directions. Halfway through preparation, I changed my side dish three times (finally landing on roasted veggies), and I kept trying to decide, right up until the final minutes of cooking, what kind of sauce to make.
I can’t remember the last time I was this disorganized in the kitchen. I mean, a little confusion is fine, I can deal, but this was one of those times when I really struggled to know what I was doing and ended up making an absolute mess in the kitchen. I kept having to remind myself, whatever you get out of this situation, you will have gained. This is a learning experience.

I already had the recipe for the chicken, which I based off of (read: ‘stole from’)  Chocolate Shavings. With that already figured out, my main concern was the sauce, and how to go about it.
Luckily, what I came up with actually worked. It was a well balanced level of heat (a little kick, but as the marinade and sauce are primarily yogurt this was significantly dampened on the tongue), and the whole dish somehow managed to seem congruous, despite its hectic preparation.

Once I was finished making, eating, and cleaning up after it all, I quickly wrote down the basics of what I did so I wouldn’t forget the recipe. As I wrote it out, I realized that although I had spent upwards of two hours scrambling around the kitchen, my finished product was really quite simple. In the future, I see it taking no more than 45 minutes, and most of that is baking time.
So, here’s what I ended up doing:

Yogurt Spiced Chicken
(Adapted from Chocolate Shavings)
Serves 3-4

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
1 cup Greek yogurt, plain
1 TBSP coriander, powdered
1 TBSP Cumin, powdered
1 TBSP curry powder
1 TBSP grated ginger (I failed to remember this part, and in a pinch used powdered ginger)
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Fresh cracked black pepper.

Optional: parsley, mint, or cilantro to garnish, and naan (Indian flatbread)


Mix the yogurt and all the spices together in a bowl. Cut the chicken into 1-2 inch cubes and place it in a zip-top baggie. Pour in about half of the yogurt mixture, seal the bag, and toss to coat the chicken thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. I made mine in the morning and let it marinate all day. Cover the bowl with the rest of the marinade and set aside.

After the chicken has marinated, preheat your oven to 350f.
Line a baking tray with parchment or aluminum foil, and set inside the tray either a wire cooling rack or an oven grill grate, if you have one. Lay the pieces of chicken, individually, onto the grill grate, shaking off most of the excess marinated back into the bowl.
Bake on the middle rack for about 10-12 minutes, then (turning your sheet front to back if your oven heats unevenly) turn on the broiler and cook for another 4-5 minutes until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through (watch it closely while it’s under the broiler).
To test the chicken, either insert an instant read thermometer into the center of one of the largest pieces and look for 170f, or remove a large piece to a plate and cut it open, looking for no pink in the middle.

Spicy Sweet Curry Sauce

Reserved yogurt marinade
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1 red bell pepper, roasted
1 Anaheim hot pepper, still green, roasted (Anaheim’s have a wide range of how spicy they can be, but after de-seeding and roasting the heat level is quite tame.)

Start by roasting the peppers (you can do this part before the chicken, or leave the broiler on after the chicken is done and do it then). Preheat your oven broiler, and line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil (not parchment – it will burn).
Cut the stem ends off the peppers, then slice them lengthwise in half. Remove all seeds and veins (be careful here, with the Anaheim. The oils in its seeds can be hot enough to irritate your skin for hours afterwards, so you must wear rubber or plastic gloves and be sure to dispose of all the seeds).
Turn the pepper halves skin side up on your cutting board, and press them flat with the palm of your hand. Then place them, skin side up, on your foil lined baking sheet.
Put them under the broiler for maybe 13-14 minutes, checking them frequently towards the end. You want their skins to turn very black and charred. The more black, the easier it will be to remove the skins afterword.
Once they look thoroughly charred, remove the pan from the oven and (with tongs or while wearing oven mitts) fold up the aluminum foil around the hot peppers, creating a pocket for them to steam in.
Let them sit for 10-15 minutes.
Once the peppers are steamed, peel back the aluminum foil and start removing their skins. Starting at the edge of the pepper and using your fingernail, pull the skin back and (if the peppers are burnt enough) the entire skin should peel right off. If it doesn’t, just keep picking at it until you get it all. Discard the skins, and you are left with the lovely soft flesh of roasted peppers.

Pour the leftover marinade and coconut milk into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring frequently. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
Turn off the heat, and transfer the hot liquid to the bowl of a food processor. Always be careful when blending hot liquids, as they are prone to spattering and causing all kinds of messes/injuries, even with the lid on. It may be helpful to throw a dish towel over the top of the food processor, and hold it down over any openings (such as ingredient spouts).
Add the roasted peppers, and pulse until smooth. If the sauce is thinner than you’d like, add a little yogurt.

Serve with the chicken over a bed of rice, or with naan bread, and with a simple side – in this case, I chose to roast carrots, red onion, and zucchini with a little salt and pepper. Enjoy!

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