Saturday, September 21, 2013

Spice-Crusted Chicken Breast with Cucumber Lemon Raita

If you know me, you know that I am a surprisingly picky eater. By this I mean, I mainly stick to safe foods and flavors. This Mediterranean-inspired dish was pretty out of my comfort zone.

To be honest, I wasn't sure I'd like it. Luckily, it was delicious. And I will continue to try things that I normally wouldn't....because if any of it is half as awesome as this, I will be one damn happy girl.

(Adapted from Joanne Weir)


  • 2 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, unpeeled and coarsely shredded
  • 1 1/4 cups plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Four 6-ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. In a small dry skillet, toast the coriander, cumin and fennel seeds over moderate heat until golden and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a spice grinder and let cool. Grind the seeds to a fine powder. (If I'm being totally honest, I don't own a spice grinder, so I just put them in a ziplock and ground them with the bottom of a Pyrex bowl...)
  4. Spread the shredded cucumber on several layers of paper towel and blot dry with more paper towels.
  5. Transfer the cucumber to a bowl and stir in the yogurt, lemon zest, garlic, cayenne and 1 teaspoon of the spice mixture; season the raita with salt and pepper.
  6. Brush the chicken with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Sprinkle the remaining spice mixture all over the breasts.
  8. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over moderately high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  9. Add the breasts to the skillet and cook until golden, about 4 minutes.
  10. Turn the breasts and continue cooking for another 3 minutes.
  11. Transfer the skillets to the oven and bake the chicken for about 8 minutes, or until just cooked through.
  12. Serve the chicken warm, with the raita.

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