Cinnamon Yogurt Chicken

Inspired by Indian tandoori chicken, cinnamon yogurt is the secret to this sauce

Straus Creamery cinnamon yogurt is the secret ingredient in this marinade, but you can use any type of yogurt
Straus Creamery cinnamon yogurt is the secret ingredient in this marinade

If you’re a fan of Indian cooking, this recipe for chicken marinated in rich, creamy yogurt is a no-brainer. A way of keeping tandoori meats moist and tender, dishes like butter chicken rely on giving poultry a long dip in a bath of yogurt, spices, garlic and lemon.
But this time, the secret’s in the sauce. For this luxed-up version the chicken gets the spa-treatment in Straus Family Creamery’s new cinnamon-flavored yogurt.
When a tub landed on my desk a few weeks ago, it seemed almost too easy to just plop it on granola. Silky smooth and richer than Midas, it’s made for the marinade, though clearly you can use just about any type of yogurt for this recipe.
Garam masala is the perfect spice partner for this, with a mix of coriander, black pepper, cumin, cadamom, cloves, mace and a little cinnamon of its own. You’ll find it on most high-end grocery spice aisles, but BiteClub made a special field trip over to Savory Spice (317 D St., Santa Rosa) to get a salt-free version made with top shelf herbs and spices. So worth it.
This recipe is all about experimentation to get the right mix…
Cinnamon Yogurt Marinated Chicken
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cup Straus Creamy whole milk cinnamon yogurt* (or any other whole milk yogurt)
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 T garam masala
Fresh ginger (about the size of your thumb tip), peeled and grated
1 tsp curry powder
2 tsp lemon
pinch salt
pinch pepper
The Details
First, rinse and pat dry the chicken breasts. Cut into uniform pieces (about an inch by an inch). They won’t all be perfect, but they’ll cook better if they’re roughly the same size and shape. Set aside.
In a plastic ziptop bag, add the other ingredients and mix by sloshing it around a bit. If you need a little more yogurt, feel free to splash in a little more. Add the chicken to the wet ingredients and marinate for 20 minutes to 24 hours (longer is better, but you can’t always wait) in the refrigerator.
Place several of the marinated pieces of chicken on a skewer. You can space them out with small pieces of onion if you’d like, but leave a bit of room between so the meat can cook through. Grill until cooked through, but not overcooked (about 4-5 minutes a side). Conversely, you can wrap the chicken in foil and bake at 325 degrees for about 30-40 minutes or until cooked through.  Serve with basmati rice, fresh naan, and grilled vegetables. You can add a bit of bottled sauce (like a peanut sauce, curry or korma) for dipping and extra flavor.
*Straus Family Creamery yogurt is available in Sonoma County at Oliver’s Markets, Whole Foods, Pacific Market, Raley’s, Molsberry’s and Community Market.