Curry & Yogurt Marinated Chicken with Mint Dressing Two Ways

That title is a mouthful, but I suppose that’s appropriate when you have two dishes in one blog post.

I hope everyone has a nice start to spring so far. Our remodeling is still underway, but things are starting to feel like home. We also have our first visitors coming tonight… my awesome in-laws! They are coming for a week and besides taking a break from DIY projects to explore Oahu with them, we are going to Maui for the weekend. I’m excited to do some island hopping!

I’m not going to waste anytime with today’s recipe, because I still have a lot to do before company comes. This was supposed to be one thing, but I ended up with so much leftover marinade, it became two dishes: a salad and sliders. The heart of both is a curry & yogurt marinated chicken. It might sound a little off-putting at first, but give it one taste and you’ll understand why I had to reuse it. So here’s the recipe the chicken:

  • 2 chicken breasts, portioned according to dish*
  • 8oz plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 lemon
  • salt & pepper
  1. In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, curry powder, fresh ginger, garlic, tumeric, cayenne & cinnamon. Stir in the juice of 1 lemon and a dash of salt & pepper.
  2. Add the chicken to the marinade and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Cook the chicken on a grill or grill pan for about 8-12 minutes over medium high heat, turning once, until cooked through.

Remember: plain yogurt does not mean vanilla yogurt! I used three of these Chobani cups between the marinade and the dressing.

*The asterick! If you are making the salad dish, cut 2 chicken breasts into about 1″ cubes and grill them on a skewer (kebab style). If you are making the sliders, put 2 chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound it out until it’s of even thickness. Cut the chicken to the size your sandwiches will be, using the bread as a reference. Each recipe makes 2-3 servings.

Now for the dressing:

  • 5 oz plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped mint
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  1. Stir together the yogurt, mint, garlic, cumin and the juice of 1/2 a lime. Whisk in the EVOO until smooth and add a dash of salt & pepper to taste. Keep refrigerated.

I love fresh mint… plenty left over for mojitos!

At this point, honestly, the chicken is so good you could eat it plain and be satisfied. I know, because I snacked on the extra pieces while taking the “glamour shots” until there was none left… and then I ate the salad from the pictures too.

Speaking of the salad! You have the chicken, grilled up and smelling oh-so-delicious, and you have the mint dressing, ready to take the edge off the spice. I plated them up next to a salad of mixed greens, arugula & spinach with thinly sliced shallots & cucumber.

Healthy never looked so good

I tossed the salad with a touch of olive oil to keep it from being too dry, but I wanted to keep the mint dressing over the chicken only. I’m not a fan of salads with a heavy dressing, because I feel like people tend to overdress and everything gets too soggy. Drizzling just a little over the chicken ensures the perfect bite every time of spicy meat, cool sauce and fresh greens.

The second incarnation of this marinade came about because I still had a lot of usable sauce left in the bowl. I cut up some more chicken, tossed it around and put it in the fridge for round two.

One of my signatures for weekend meals has become sliders, so naturally this recipe had to get the sandwich treatment. I toasted up some Hawaiian rolls, and piled on the chicken, a dollop of mint dressing, some more thinly sliced cucumbers and my FAVORITE: pickled red onions.

Oh, did I mention I made oven-baked fries with garlic powder, onion powder, curry powder & paprika?

The color of this chicken is beautiful. The smell and taste is unreal. I hope you try it with my salad or as my sliders, but I really just wanted the focus to be on the chicken. This is the kind of thing you can make a large batch on a weekend and do anything with. Beyond my ideas here, you could put this with rice, over whatever veggies you like, or in a wrap for lunch on the go. I’m already trying to come up with as many ways to use it as I can in my head, as an excuse to make more.

Remember to prep this a day ahead of time. You could shortcut it and let it marinade for a few hours, but trust me, doing it overnight makes a difference. The chicken will be juicier and more flavorful the longer it sits in that delicious sauce.

It’s meal prep gold, literally.

I have to get back to my endless to-do list around the house. Follow my Instagram (@ThePickyGourmet) to see some foodie adventures around Maui in a couple days! I’m sure I’ll get some great pics and some inspiration for my next recipe!

Growing Your Own Fresh Herbs

It’s hard to come up with a savory dish that doesn’t benefit from the addition of fresh herbs. The problem is you spend money on them, use a little in a recipe and the rest ends up wilting in the fridge. It takes some work to maintain fresh herbs, but it’s a choice between spending time or spending money.

I’m lucky to live in Southern California where I can grow all year long. There were a few weeks this winter when the tempatures dropped and I had to move my plants indoors every night, but other than that I’ve been pretty successful with my little back porch “garden”. The only real hiccup was when the Santa Ana winds came in strong and literally blew half my planters off the table. What a depressing day that was.

So I’m down a couple pots, but currently I have a nice trio consisting of basil, my favorite, parsley, which goes great on any dish, and mint, which is looking a little picked over in the photo because I added a bunch to my detox waters. It’s awesome to walk outside and get what I need right from the plant. When we have to move again for my husband’s next assignment (he’s in the Navy), we plan on buying a home and my one requirement is a yard where I can plant not just herbs, but vegetables too.

There are plenty of ways to start your own herb garden. You can do it the old fashioned way with some seeds, planters and soil, but there’s shortcuts. You can find indoor and outdoor kits that come with everything you need to grow and maintain your herbs. You could also buy them already growing from a nursery, so all you have to do is transplant them and keep them alive.

If you don’t live in a climate that’s warm all year long, the indoor garden is a good option. If you don’t have the counter space for that, you can freeze fresh herbs for the winter. Harvest what you have before it gets cold and put them in an ice cube tray with olive oil. You can thaw them out at needed or even throw a couple cubes into a pan for making sauces or stir frys.

I’ve really learned to utilize my freezer more in the past few months. I hate wasting food and money. I’ll definitely write a post soon on how I prep and freeze to get a head start on meals and save ingredients from ending up in the trash. But I digress.

I completely believe fresh herbs are worth the time. Like I said, most meals can be enhanced by them. The dry stuff in the little plastic cylinders is just fine, but I find there’s a big difference in flavor and fragrance from going fresh. Even my back porch smells like mint and basil everyday, it’s lovely.

Leftovers can really benefit from herbs. How often do you have boring pizza from the night before in the fridge? Heat it up (in a skillet, oven or toaster oven, never the microwave!) and throw some fresh torn basil on top. If you make a big pot of soup to keep in the fridge, don’t throw in all the herbs you have. Make sure to save some and after its warmed up, garnish each serving to really bring out that fresh taste.

I use herbs almost every day. If you don’t, and you cook a lot, I would highly suggest getting familiar with them. It’s up to you how much you want to invest in them. I think it’s really fun to grow my own. The dried herbs are essential too, I have a whole shelf in my pantry for them. You need them for seasoning proteins, crusts, breading etc. But that extra punch from adding fresh herbs is really brings a dish together and helps create a finished presentation.

So how do you use herbs in your cooking? What’s your favorite? Let me know!