Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Chicken Tikka with Rice Pilaf with Cranberries and Almonds

I’ve been craving Mediterranean food lately.  This is a new craving for me, because while I have craved Mediterranean food in the past, it was always French, Italian or maybe Greek food.  I didn’t realize there was another whole section of the Mediterranean food I’d been overlooking.   I’ve been missing out on a more eastern Mediterranean culinary experience (Turkish, Syrian, Lebanese).  Well, that changed a few months ago when I met some girl friends for a good-bye dinner for our friend Barb at a local Mediterranean restaurant.  I loved every bite of my dinner!  We ordered the appetizer platter with flat bread and more toppings than I can remember.  For dinner, I ordered a chicken dish with aged yogurt and saffron rice, and I was in heaven.  My dinner was full of exotic spices and tangy yogurt.  I couldn’t wait to have eastern Mediterranean food again. 

Les and I went out to another Mediterranean restaurant on another night, and we enjoyed it, so I knew I needed to try my hand at Mediterranean food myself.  I bought a few Mediterranean cookbooks and drooled over the recipes (I will be testing other recipes from my new Mediterranean cookbooks, so stay tuned).  But, I played it “safe” and tried a kabob recipe from Food Network Magazine.   My family loved the kabobs, and I knew this would be a great recipe for entertaining.

A few weeks ago, I served Chicken Tikka and Rice Pilaf with Cranberries and Almonds for dinner to some of my friends who were at Barb’s good-bye dinner.  The dinner was on a Friday night, so I needed an easy menu I could throw together quickly (with the help of my husband who grilled the chicken).  Chicken Tikka, Rice Pilaf with Cranberries and Almonds and a simple green salad was the perfect menu for dinner, and this menu satisfies my craving for Mediterranean food. 

The chicken was moist and tender and perfectly spiced.  Be sure to serve it with the yogurt sauce as the sauce adds great flavor.  Food Network Magazine had the recipe in their 50 Kabob booklet, but I like the whole pieces of chicken as they stay moister, but you can kabob the chicken with some green onions if you would like.  The cranberries in the pilaf added a touch of sweetness to the rice while the slivered almonds add a great crunch.
Chicken Tikka
Adapted from Food Network Magazine 50 Kabob booklet
Printable Recipe
8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups Greek yogurt, separated
2 tablespoons garam masala
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, separated
1 ½ teaspoons grated ginger
1 ½ teaspoons grated garlic
2 tablespoons lime juice, separated
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a large bowl, mix together 1 cup Greek yogurt, garam masala, ½ cups chopped cilantro, ginger, garlic 1 tablespoon lime juice, salt and cayenne pepper in a large bowl.  Take out 2 tablespoons of yogurt mixture and set aside.  Add the chicken to the large bowl with the remaining marinade, and marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

In a small bowl, add 1 cup Greek yogurt, the 2 tablespoons of reserved marinade, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, and 1 tablespoon lime juice.  Set aside.

Take the chicken out of the marinade, and grill over medium heat until done, about 3-5 minutes per side.  Serve with yogurt sauce.
Rice Pilaf with Cranberries and Almonds
Printable Recipe
1½  cups basmati rice
2¼  cups chicken broth
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup chopped dried cranberries
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

In a large sauce pan over medium heat, add vegetable oil and butter.  When the butter is melted, add the onion, and cook until softened.  Add the dry rice, and mix until the rice is coated with the butter and vegetable oil.  Cook the rice until it becomes opaque.  Add the chicken and cook until the rice is cooked and the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.  Add the slivered almonds and cranberries, stirring to combine.  Garnish with cilantro and serve.


  1. Watch out- She's on a roll!!!!!


  2. that looks really good. i've always turned up my nose at eating meals that include fruits, but i am really wanting to try this one.

  3. Hi Melissa, Thanks for your support! Janice

    Hi Jasmine, Thanks! I hope you like the cranberries in the rice. I think your will be happy you tried it. Janice

  4. I enjoyed this recipe -- thanks! The rice was amazing and will be staying in the rotation.



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