Tandoori dishes are often the healthiest option in Indian restaurants because they are cooked without fat added. At home, a hot broiler gives a similar result. These lean Indian-style grilled chicken breasts are served with creamy low-fat raita. All that is needed to complete the meal is rice or warm bread.
Preheat the broiler to high. To make the marinade, put garlic, ginger, tomato paste, garam masala, cilantro, cumin, turmeric, cayenne and yogurt into a bowl and whisk. If you prefer, process the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Transfer to a bowl large enough to hold all the chicken pieces.
Score 2 slits on each side of the chicken breasts. Place them in the marinade, turning to coat and rubbing the marinade into the slits. (If you have time, leave the chicken to marinate in the refrigerator overnight.)
Brush the broiler rack with oil, then place the chicken breasts on top. Broil, turning and basting with the remaining marinade, until the chicken is tender, the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced with a knife, and the marinade looks lightly charred, 12 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the raita. Place the yogurt in a bowl. Coarsely grate the cucumber, then squeeze to remove as much moisture as possible. Stir the cucumber, tomato, ground coriander, cumin, cayenne, and salt into the yogurt. Spoon the raita into a serving bowl.
Transfer the Indian-style grilled chicken breasts to a serving plate. Add lemon or lime wedges and garnish with cilantro sprigs. Serve with the raita on the side.
Chicken is a low-fat source of protein and this marinade adds very little extra fat.
Yogurt is an excellent source of protein and calcium, needed for healthy bones and teeth, and it provides useful amounts of phosphorus and vitamins B2 and B12, as well as beneficial bacteria.
Some More Ideas:
For a crisper texture on the grilled chicken, omit the yogurt from the marinade, double the other ingredients, and stir in 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar.
Try this Onion and Herb Raita with either version of the broiled chicken: Very finely chop 1 large sweet onion, such as Vidalia, or 7 ounces scallions. Place in a medium bowl. Stir in 4 to 6 tablespoons minced fresh mint, 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, 1 seeded and minced fresh green chile, or to taste, and 1 1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt. Heat a dry skillet over high heat. Add 2 teaspoons cumin seeds and sauté, stirring constantly, until they give off their aroma and start to jump: Immediately tip them on top of the raita.
For Indian-style kabobs, cut the chicken into cubes before you put it in the marinade. While preheating the broiler, soak 8 bamboo skewers in water. Thread the cubes onto the skewers, alternating with chunks of zucchini and red and yellow bell pepper cubes. Broil, basting with the marinade and turning the skewers over several times, until the chicken is tender and the juices run clear, 12 to 15 minutes.
A quick alternative to raita is to serve the chicken with a simple salad of chopped tomatoes and onions on lettuce leaves with minced cilantro sprinkled over.
Per serving: calories 267, protein 37 g, fat 8 g (of which saturated fat 3 g), carbohydrate 11 g (of which sugars 11 g), fibre 0.8 g