Yoghurt spiced chicken by Paul Merrett

Yoghurt spiced chicken by Paul Merrett

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Yoghurt spiced chicken

Yoghurt spiced chicken

Traditional Tandoori chicken is marinated in yoghurt and spices and then roasted in a tandoor, a type of cylindrical clay oven. A firm favourite in curry houses all around the world, it originated in the Indian subcontinent. Here's Paul Merrett's own version!

Preparation time: 20 mins plus 1 hour to marinate

Cooking time: 10-15 minutes

Serves: 4


For the chicken and marinade:

  • 4 RSPCA Assured labelled skinless chicken breasts
  • juice of half a Fairtrade lemon
  • 4-5cm fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 green chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 3 tbsp coriander, roughly chopped
  • ½ tbsp mint, roughly chopped
  • 120g thick Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Fairtrade garam masala
  • ¼ tsp Fairtrade ground black pepper

For the salad and dressing:

  • 4 plum tomatoes, cut in half and then each half diced into 6 pieces
  • 1 red onion, halved and finely sliced
  • 1 gem lettuce, halved and shredded
  • few stems of fresh coriander
  • 10 torn mint leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ tbsp shredded mint
  • 1 tbsp Fairtrade light olive oil
  • ½ tbsp of cider vinegar

Wine suggestion:

Fairtrade Koopmanskloof Bush Vine Chenin Blanc 2011


Lie the chicken breasts on a chopping board – slash them 5 times crossways, about 4mm deep – to allow the marinade to really penetrate.

For the marinade, put the ginger, garlic, green chilli, coriander, mint and yoghurt into a blender, and liquidize until smooth.

Add all the other ingredients from the marinade list, then liquidize again briefly, to mix it all up – the marinade should be quite smooth.

Put the chicken breasts in a large bowl. Pour over the marinade and make sure the chicken is well coated. Marinate for at least one hour, but longer if you can.


To cook the chicken, heat a large non-stick, heavy frying pan. Add about a dessert spoon of vegetable oil. Blot any excess marinade and lay each breast in the pan.

Allow to cook hard and fast for about 2-3 minutes, before turning it over. It’s really important that it gets the full heat from the pan (or the barbecue) so if your pan is a little small then cook the chicken in batches.

Once the chicken has a really good dark colour, flip it over and finish it off on the ‘B’ side, until cooked through.

Meanwhile knock out the salad by mixing all the prepared veggie bits into a bowl and then dressing with the oil and vinegar.

Recipe:  The Freedom Food Celebrity Recipe Collection

‟This spicy chicken has been a favourite of mine for a long time – my version of a tandoori chicken! The marinade does have a long list of ingredients, but the preparation is really simple. A hot pan is the perfect way to this, but it also works well on the barbecue. Great chicken deserves a great marinade – this is it! I reckon that with a grilled roti bread for each person, this is a pretty near perfect meal.”

Paul Merrett

RSPCA Assured chicken breasts

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