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Spice-Crusted Chicken Breasts with Lemon-Cucumber Raita

slideshow Amazing Chicken Recipes

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6

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  • 2 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, unpeeled and coarsely shredded
  • 1 1/4 cups plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Six 6-ounce boneless chicken breast halves, with skin
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small dry skillet, toast the coriander, cumin and fennel seeds over moderate heat until golden and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and let cool. Grind the seeds to a fine powder.
  2. Spread the shredded cucumber on several layers of paper towel and blot dry with more paper towels. Transfer the cucumber to a bowl and stir in the yogurt, lemon zest, garlic, cayenne and 1 teaspoon of the spice mixture; season the raita with salt and pepper.
  3. Brush the chicken with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the remaining spice mixture all over the breasts. Heat 2 large ovenproof skillets over moderately high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to each. Add 3 of the breasts to each skillet, skin side down, and cook until golden, about 4 minutes. Turn the breasts and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Transfer the skillets to the oven and bake the chicken for about 8 minutes, or until just cooked through. Serve the chicken warm, with the raita.

Suggested Pairing

The tangy yogurt and spices in the raita suggest an equally tart Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley.

Contributed By Photo © Livia Corona Published October 2002

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