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Old 07-10-2010, 02:19 PM   #1
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Yogurt Marinades

When marinading with yogurt (like in a chicken tikka/tandoori chicken), do you guys wipe off the yogurt marinade before grilling it? Everytime I've done a yogurt marinade, I've had less than stellar results. My best results are always with an oil/citrus juice based marinade or a water based marinade/brine. When working with some liquidy/gelatinous like yogurt, I'm thinking I should maybe lightly "squeeze" the yogurt off the meat with my thumb and index finger before taking it to the grill, or else it'll boil/steam more than grill. Is that correct?

I sometimes do this yogurt rubbed chicken baked in the oven at very high heat (like 550 F) -- it's just yogurt with garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, chili powder, cinnamon, cardomom, and a few other aromatic spices rubbed on the chicken. In this case, I don't wipe the marinade/yogurt rub off because the oven will turn the yogurt into a kind of moist crust with its high heat. Doesn't seem to work that way on the grill, though... =[

Do you guys have any quick yogurt marinade recipes that you personally enjoy (specifically for grilling)?

Thanks in advance for the help!

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Old 07-10-2010, 02:53 PM   #2
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When I make tandoori chicken, I marinate thighs in a ziplock with the yogurt marinade. Using tongs, I just grab a thigh, shake off as much marinade as I can and slap it on the grill. The chicken is on the grill long enough so you can get a nice char and crust on the pieces even of they are a little moist when you start.
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Old 07-11-2010, 10:49 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
When I make tandoori chicken, I marinate thighs in a ziplock with the yogurt marinade. Using tongs, I just grab a thigh, shake off as much marinade as I can and slap it on the grill. The chicken is on the grill long enough so you can get a nice char and crust on the pieces even of they are a little moist when you start.
Thanks Andy -- appreciate the response. Would you be able share your tandoori chicken recipe? I'd love to try it. Also, do you recommend using full fat plain yogurt, fat free (I buy fat free normally), or maybe greek yogurt that has a lot of the liquid taken out? Maybe my fat free yogurt is messing up my marinades.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 07-11-2010, 11:32 AM   #4
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Turkeyman, this recipe is a work in progress. My neighbor gave it to me after I tasted her tandoori chicken. It was fantastic. She estimated the amounts and I've made the dish once with this recipe. My notes are to increase the amounts of the seasonings except for the heat levels to get a richer flavor.

There's no ginger in this recipe. Many tandoori recipes call for ginger but my neighbor doesn't use it. I'll probably add some next time I make it (later this week).

TANDOORI CHICKEN

4 Ea Chicken Thighs
2 Cl Garlic
4 Ea Green Chilies
4 Ea Lime Juice
C Plain Yogurt
1 Tb Tandoori Chicken Masala (packaged spice blend from Indian market)
1 Tb Cumin Powder
TT Salt
1 tsp Coriander Powder
2 tsp Red Chile Powder
1 Tb Butter
2 Tb Cilantro, chopped

Trim excess fat from the thighs. The thighs may be cooked with or without the skin.

Make a paste of the garlic and green chilies. Use a tablespoon of the paste in this recipe.

Combine the paste with the lime juice, yogurt, masala, cumin, salt, coriander and red chile powder.

Marinate the thighs in the marinade for 1-4 hours.

Grill the marinated chicken until done. There should be charring of the chicken from the grill. This is traditional.

For the last couple of minutes of the cooking time, brush the chicken with melted butter.

Garnish with cilantro and serve with lime wedges.


NOTE: I plan to increase the masala, cumin and coriander amounts by 25% to 50% next time.

Regarding the yogurt, I use whole milk yogurt whenever possible. If it's not readily available, I go for low fat yogurt. I don't think you need to go with Greek yogurt. It would certainly work with this recipe.
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Old 07-11-2010, 11:57 AM   #5
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The recipe looks great -- I'll up the spice levels as you said, since I think I could enjoy almost any level of chili powder, cumin and coriander in a dish. I'll also add a bit of ginger to the garlic-chili paste. Looking forward to using whole milk yogurt as well. I'll try it in the next week or two and let you know the results. Thanks again!
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Old 07-11-2010, 12:02 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Turkeyman View Post
The recipe looks great -- I'll up the spice levels as you said, since I think I could enjoy almost any level of chili powder, cumin and coriander in a dish. I'll also add a bit of ginger to the garlic-chili paste. Looking forward to using whole milk yogurt as well. I'll try it in the next week or two and let you know the results. Thanks again!
Good luck. I look forward to hearing your results.
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Old 07-11-2010, 03:39 PM   #7
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I second all of the above, & will just add that my experience has been that while whole-milk (aka "regular") plain yogurt & low-fat yogurt are fine, do try to avoid using the totally "fat-free" yogurt. It ends up too thin/drippy/liquidy for recipes like this.

Also - if using a marinade like this for fish (I LOVE it with thick white fish like cod), don't marinate for more than an hour tops or the acidity of the yogurt will begin to change the texture of the fish - as in "mushy".
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Old 07-11-2010, 04:25 PM   #8
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Pardon me if I'm repeating, but one thing to remember is that yogurt is a short-time marinade. I once left chicken breasts overnight in it (I can't remember if I was doing tandoori or kabobs of some kind) and the yogurt literally ate away the chicken and it was mush the next day. Remember that yogurt is alive! A few hours is plenty. I also, as others have mentioned, to scrape, wipe, whatever the excess off before cooking it.
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Old 07-11-2010, 05:08 PM   #9
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Actually, you CAN marinate chicken overnight in a yogurt marinade IF you're using skin-on pieces of chicken. Skinless pieces, however, as Claire said, can't be left that long without having texture problems.

As far as scraping/wiping the excess marinade off, I never do it. It's that cooked-on spicy yogurt coating that adds so much tang to the finished dish. Plus, it helps to keep the chicken moist while grilling or broiling. Just my personal experience. By all means do what works best for you to enjoy it!
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Old 07-12-2010, 02:00 AM   #10
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just a little more info: the reason dairy marinades affect a protein's texture is that they contain tenderizing enzymes. same goes for marinades containing pineapple or papaya. acid marinades will help break down collagen, but work more slowly than enzymatic tenderization, therefore they are more forgiving time wise.

when it comes to grilling, andy and breezy's methods of just shaking or minimally wiping off excess marinade should be ok since it's a method of dry, direct heat that allows excessive moisture to be taken away.

if you're cooking in a pot, crock, or pan, you'll want to remove as much of the marinade so as to allow the meat to brown better. wet meat retards the maillard reaction, so wiping and even patting dry will help.

and thanks for the recipe, andy. i'll be trying this soon.
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