Minty yogurt flavors chicken with the cool, yet tangy, taste of the Middle East

October 21, 1992|By Linda Gassenheimer | Linda Gassenheimer,Knight-Ridder News Service

Yogurt mixed with spices, mint and fresh ginger fill this refreshing chicken dish with flavors of the Middle East. Yogurt has been part of our diet since recorded history. It probably originated in the Middle East, where its cool creamy flavor is a prominent element in cooking. It makes a cool and tangy marinade for the chicken.

Fresh ginger gives a spicy, slightly peppery flavor to the dish. It can be found in the produce section of the supermarket. A quick way to chop ginger is to peel it, cut it into chunks and press it through a garlic press with large holes. Press over food or bowl to catch juices as ginger is pressed.

Chopped onion is needed in both chicken marinade and barley. To save time, chop the total amount together and divide as needed.

Quick cooking barley is easy to make and adds a crunchy texture to the meal. Enjoy the flavors of the Middle East with this dish.

Ginger minted chicken Serves 2

1/2 cup nonfat yogurt

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint

1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon crushed garlic

1 teaspoon ground coriander

pinch of cayenne

2 5-ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts

FOR GARNISH:

2 sprigs fresh mint

Mix yogurt, mint, ginger, onion,

garlic, coriander and cayenne together. Remove as much fat as possible from chicken. With a skewer or knife poke several holes in chicken. Add to yogurt mixture and marinate 20 minutes, turning once. Heat broiler. Line a baking tray with foil. Broil chicken on top shelf for 5 minutes per side. Serve on bed of Lemon Barley with a sprig of fresh mint as a garnish.

Lemon barley Serves 2

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup uncooked barley (quick cooking barley)

1/2 teaspoon canola oil

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh sage (1 teaspoon dried)

1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (1 teaspoon dried)

grated rind from 1/2 lemon (about 1/2 teaspoon)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon margarine or butter

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring water to a boil and stir in barley. When water returns to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes. Drain. Heat oil in a nonstick frying pan and saute onion until transparent and golden, 10 minutes. Mix with barley and herbs. Add lemon rind, juice, margarine, salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly.

Orange carrots Serves 2

1 1/2 cups sliced carrots

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 teaspoon brown sugar

Combine carrots and water in a sauce pan. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes. Drain. Mix orange juice and sugar together. Heat to melt sugar. This may be done in a microwave (30 seconds on high). Pour over drained carrots.

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