Grilled Yogurt Chicken with Cucumber Salad

Plain Yogurt

Plain Yogurt

By Cat, Dec 2007 (Photo, right, from (1)

I don’t yet have my outdoor gas grill set up, waiting for me to build a level patio. So in the meantime, I do all my grilling indoors on my gas range (using a cast iron grill pan), or outdoor on my Mom’s old charcoal grill.

I first became acquainted with coating chicken with a yogurt sauce when I discovered Tandoori Chicken. This recipe doesn’t include all the curry spices as the Tandoori recipe, but rather is spiced more like a Lebanese dish. (NOTE: another use of a yogurt or buttermilk coating is for fried chicken).

I make my own plain, unsweetened yogurt from raw goats milk. This yogurt is not as thick as commercial yogurt, so for recipes like this one, I strain some of the whey off the yogurt to thicken it (and save the whey for fermenting something). It only takes an hour or so to thicken this way.

I’ve not tried this yet, as its still too cold to set up my outdoor grill (October 2014)

See also: 1. Poultry & Fowl Menu; 2. Homemade yogurt; 3. Tandoori Chicken; 4. Herbs & Spices Menu

Grilled Yogurt Chicken with Cucumber Salad

This recipe is adapted from Sunset magazine, April 2010 issue (2), and serves 4.

I prefer to brine chicken breasts before cooking, to retain moisture, especially when the skin is removed, as in this recipe.  I prefer to leave the bones in the breast during cooking, to enhance mineral content of the meat.

The nice thing about English cucumbers is that you don’t need to peel and de-seed them, and they last longer if you can’t use the whole thing right away.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 4 boned chicken breast halves (or quarters), about 4 – 6 oz each, brined
  • 1 ¼ cup plain, unsweetened yogurt
  • 1 ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ – ½ tsp red chile flakes
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¾ tsp Unrefined sea salt (skip if you brined the chicken)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 2 Tbsp minced shallot (1 medium)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
  • Unrefined sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Equipment:
  • waxed paper
  • meat pounder
  • Grill or grill pan
  • medium bowl
  • salad bowl


  1. Brine breasts for 30 minutes.  Rinse and dry with cotton towel. Remove bones; leave skin on, or remove, as desired.
  2. Pound breast pieces 2 at a time, between layers of bakers parchment paper, to ¼” thick.
  3. Prepare grill: Oil grill, then heat at high heat to about 500°F.
  4. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine yogurt, spices, lemon juice and salt (if using). Set aside ½ cup for the salad.
  5. Dip chicken pieces in remaining yogurt mixture to coat both sides. Let sit in mixture at room temperature about 10 minutes to marinate.
  6. Meanwhile, scrub cucumber, and cut into ¼ dice. Mince shallot and chop the mint. Combine veggies with the reserved yogurt mixture and chill until ready to serve.
  7. Transfer chicken pieces to plate, rubbing off excess yogurt. Rub both sides of pieces with olive oil.
  8. Grill, covered, 3 – 4 minutes; turn over, cover and cook another 2 – 3 minutes. Transfer to plate and adjust seasoning. Serve with cucumber salad.

Assembly or Serving ideas

  • Serve grilled chicken pieces with cucumber salad and garnish with sprigs of mint.
  • Washed seedless grapes make an excellent accompaniment.


  1. photo:
  2. Sunset magazine, April 2010 issue recipe ( and

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