Friday, February 4, 2011
Recipe Report - Spicy Chicken with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
The January 2011 issue of Better Homes and Gardens has a lot of recipes that look interesting. I already reviewed one of them (see "Super Bowls" from January 1), but instead of trying something from the February issue, I chose another recipe from January. This one is called "Spicy Chicken with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce." There's a picture of it on page 83 (the picture above is my version, not BHG's) and the recipe begins on page 99. The marinade for the chicken involves some ingredients I don't use often, including fresh ginger, fresh mint leaves, and curry powder. I thought plain yogurt was a strange base for a marinade, but DH says it's common in Middle Eastern cuisine. Add garlic, paprika, cinnamon and cayenne pepper and you've got a great-smelling marinade.
The recipe called for chicken wings or SMALL drumsticks; unfortunately all they had at our local store were big, fat drumsticks. I should have slashed them before they went into the marinade, to make the marinade soak in a little better, but I didn't think of it. DH also observed that instead of baking the chicken fast on high heat (400 degrees) for 40 minutes, it would have been better to bake it longer at lower heat. I was astounded by this observation, coming from the man who cooks everything on the highest burner setting, but maybe he discovered the other numbers on the dial while I wasn't looking.
The chicken was nice; the ginger in particular made for a wonderful aroma. The real winner in this recipe, though, is the cucumber yogurt sauce. If you've ever had tzatziki at a Greek restaurant, you've got the general idea. I used plain yogurt, full-fat, plus grated cucumber, garlic, salt, cumin and mint. Cumin is another one of those ingredients that doesn't get trotted out too often. Anyway, as I said, this sauce was a star. Long before the chicken was ready, DH had eaten half the sauce as a dip with veggie chips.
I served the chicken and sauce with basmati rice. I don't really like to serve rice plain because it tends to be dry, but the yogurt sauce solved that problem. I probably should have added carrots or broccoli to the menu for color if nothing else, but both the boys inhaled their dinner without noticing what it looked like. When I asked DS what he thought of the dish, he said, "Good." When I asked him if I should make it again sometime, he said, "Sure." So there you have it, from the boy who won the "Silent Man" award last year from his cross country coach.