Thursday, February 11, 2010

Iraqi Chicken in Spiced Yogurt

Remember this from my cooking class with Iraqi refugees in Cairo?

The cooking class didn't really give us recipes, instead sending us home with a sheet of general instructions like "add spices to chicken."  They certainly didn't give us instructions on how to make the recipes without access to an outdoor grill, and they most certainly didn't give us instructions on how to make them kosher!

Never fear, dear readers.  The Smart Green Gourmet did some research and put her nose and palate to the test and figured out how to make an Iraqi-style chicken so delicious that my husband and I used bread to mop up every last bit of the sauce in true Iraqi style.  I used soy yogurt here due to aforementioned kashrut concerns, but this recipe should work with regular yogurt, omitting the extra tablespoon of vinegar.  I normally can't stand soy yogurt, but in this recipe, it worked beautifully.

I've left this recipe intentionally flexible.  The marinade directions below made more than enough for the 3 chicken thighs that I used.  If you're using more meat, make more marinade.  You may also wish to adjust cooking times and temperatures according to what you're making.  If you're using boneless white meat chicken breasts, for example, lower heat would probably be appropriate.

This recipe couldn't be easier: whisk together the marinade, toss it with the chicken, and bake.  It can easily be made ahead, or you can marinate the chicken overnight and bake it the next day.  It is easily multiplied.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Work time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Serves: 3 (or as many as you would like)


3 bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed of all visible fat.
Tip: It's OK to loosen the skin or skin the thighs completely in this recipe; the yogurt will keep the meat moist during cooking and you can save on saturated fat this way.

1.5 c plain soy yogurt (I used
Juice of 1 lemon
1 T cider vinegar
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t tumeric
1/4 t coriander
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Whisk together marinade ingredients.  Toss marinade with chicken.  Let marinate 15 minutes or overnight.
3. Arrange chicken in a baking dish in a single layer.  Bake ~45 minutes or until meat is done.
4. Serve with bread to mop up the sauce.


  1. Jill, this sounds awesome. It also jogs my memory re: something else I've been trying to figure out -- how to make chicken paprikash with dumplings, kosher. (Normally sour cream plays a crucial role.) I'm deeply skeptical of the pareve sour cream I've seen -- if memory serves, it's all chemicals. Has the Smart Green Gourmet figured out that one (or have insights similiar to those you've brought to bear here)?

  2. Hi Uptown Mom,

    Thanks for visiting! I haven't tried to make chicken paprikash, but that sounds like an interesting experiment! I add vinegar to the soy yogurt here because I find soy yogurt to have a cloying sweetness that regular yogurt does not have, and the cider vinegar balanaces it out in a way that lemon juice can't. Perhaps the same insight would help with a soy sour cream, or perhaps the soy yogurt + vinegar combination could work instead, but I've never tried it. Please let me know if you (or Iron Chef Kosher)come up with anything!