Marinating chicken in yogurt and spices adds moisture and exotic flavor, so it's always been a favorite of mine at Indian restaurants. Serve it hot or cold, with a side of basmati rice or a cool, crisp salad. It's also a solid choice for a picnic or a travel day, either on its own or sliced for sandwiches.

Serves 4


  • 2 Tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. sweet paprika
  • 2 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp. peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 cups whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 (3 1/2- to 5-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces (drumsticks, thighs, breasts, wings)


    Blend the cumin seeds, sweet and smoked paprikas, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, peppercorns, salt and red pepper flakes in a blender until they become a fine powder.

    Add the garlic cloves, ginger and lemon and lime zests and juice and blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Add the yogurt and pulse on and off until all the ingredients are combined.

    In a glass bowl or baking dish, thoroughly coat the chicken pieces with half the yogurt marinade (refrigerate or freeze the rest for up to 1 month for another recipe). Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.

    Preheat the oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange a roasting rack on top.

    Remove the chicken from the marinade, leaving a generous coating on each piece. Place the chicken skin-side-up on the roasting rack. Leave at least 1/2 an inch between pieces. Spoon any extra marinade in the bowl on top of the pieces.

    Roast the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 160, about 45 minutes. Turn the oven broiler on low and broil the chicken until the yogurt marinade starts to slightly blacken, about 5 minutes. If your oven doesn't have a broiler, crank the oven up to 450 and brown the chicken for about 5 minutes.

    From Brooklyn Rustic: Simple Food for Sophisticated Palates (Little, Brown) by Bryan Calvert.

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