Grilled Marinated Chicken Breast with Yogurt and Asian Spices

May 13, 2011 (Last Updated: July 1, 2020)
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A very easy and impressive preparation for chicken from one of my favorite cookbooks. The original recipe uses halved chicken breasts, but we made ours more as kebabs (we’re Armenian, you know), and the sauce was so popular that guests were spooning it over their rice, and everything else on their plates!

I was a bit concerned at first about using some of the chicken marinade to make the sauce, but it comes to a boil and so it’s safe to eat. We loved the chicken on its own, simply marinated and delicious, but the sauce is the finishing touch that makes this chicken so special. We multiplied the recipe when we made it, so it’s definitely easy to make for a couple or for a big party.

Grilled Marinated Chicken Breast with Yogurt and Asian Spices

These grilled chicken breasts are perfect for summer!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Marinating Time 3 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 50 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Asian, Middle Eastern
Servings 2 to 4 servings
Calories 280 kcal



  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts whole, halved, or cut into 2-inch chunks to make kebabs


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup peeled and diced cucumber
  • 1/8 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups cored and chopped tomatoes (1 pound)


  • In a nonreactive bowl, combine the yogurt with all the remaining ingredients except the chicken. Stir to blend well, add the chicken breasts, marinate, covered and refrigerated, at least 3 hours, or overnight for richer flavor.
  • For the sauce, heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Saute the garlic, onion, and cucumbers until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the curry, cumin, and cayenne. Add the tomatoes and simmer until juicy, about 10 minutes.
  • Preheat a broiler grill, grill pan, or outdoor grill.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and set aside (if making kebabs, skewer the chunks). Add 1/2 cup of the marinade to the tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer 5 minutes.
  • Puree the sauce in a blender or food processor. Return to the saucepan and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Keep the sauce warm.
  • Cook the chicken breasts over a hot grill until cooked through but still juicy, about 5 minutes a side (less for kebabs). Alternatively, cook the chicken breasts under a preheated broiler, 4 to 5 minutes a side.
  • Transfer the chicken to a platter and serve with the warm sauce.

Notes & Nutrition

Adapted from The Union Square Cafe Cookbook
Servings 4.0 * calories 280 * Total Fat 11 g * Saturated Fat 3 g * Monounsaturated Fat 5 g * Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g * Trans Fat 0 g * Cholesterol 80 mg * Sodium 372 mg * Potassium 318 mg * Total Carbohydrate 10 g * Dietary Fiber 2 g * Sugars 6 g * Protein 34 g
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*

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