When Kate suggested yogurt as an ingredient for this round of Platinum Chef, she claimed “it’s so easy to just throw into everything.” Huh? Yogurt is a challenge for me since I don’t use it that much, so it seemed like a good choice for this round. The truth is there are plenty of uses for yogurt – you can use it in baking, as a substitute for sour cream, as a salad dressing base, and a chicken marinade. Yup, I decided to try out a tandoori-style chicken dish. I had read plenty of recipes like this that called for marinating chicken in yogurt and spices. At first I thought that sounded a little strange, but as I’ve learned more about how ingredients work together, the functionality has become quite clear. Just like marinating in buttermilk, yogurt really makes the chicken very moist and tender. Also, it holds the flavors of whatever else you are marinating in and really infuses them throughout the meat. I did some searching online and adapted a few recipes to come up with my own for Tandoori-style chicken with banana raita and roasted sweet potatoes. I was also really excited about the idea of using banana in with the chicken and curry flavors, as one of my favorite salads in my college town is a curried chicken salad which happens to contain bananas (among many other things!) and it’s absolutely delicious.
A little excerpt on raita, that I found helpful: Raita is a yogurt/ dahi dish, that makes an important part of a North Indian meal. It combines the cool taste of fresh, chilled yoghurt with various other tastes and textures of salads, vegetable, fruits and flavours of a variety of spices. Yoghurt cools down the irritant effect of hot Indian curries on the stomach. Therefore, try not make it too hot. The ‘good’ bacteria contained in fresh yoghurt help with the digestion. Biriyani, pulao (pilau), Khitchri and rich meat and vegetable dishes are excellent with a bowl of chilled raita. In South India, where foods is generally hotter than in the North, natural yogurt and Boiled Rice are traditionally served at the end of a meal. Many raitas are suitable for use as ‘dips’. –Mamta’s Kitchen
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp curry powder
salt and pepper
handful of fresh chopped cilantro
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
Combine all ingredients besides chicken and mix well. Place in a ziploc bag or baking dish with chicken and marinate overnight.
1/2 of a banana, chopped
1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
small handful fresh chopped cilantro
dash of curry powder
When ready to cook chicken, remove from marinade and thread onto skewers. Grill over low-to-medium heat until cooked through, turning as necessary. Serve with banana raita.