I love the way the vibrant astringency of turmeric combines so beautifully with the creamy, whole milk yogurt that I like to make at home, whether that’s in a smoothie or in a marinade, like this one, that so beautifully infuses these Grilled Turmeric Chicken Kebabs with deep flavor and an utterly delightful golden color.
For a weeknight meal, we like to grill these chicken kebabs and some green onions, to serve with a fragrant basmati rice dressed with pumpkin seeds, sea salt and fresh cilantro. It’s an easy meal, certainly easier than it looks, and it comes together in about a half hour.
The Power of Turmeric, Black Pepper and Ghee
Turmeric, the brilliant orange powder that will color everything if you’re not too careful, is a near magical ingredient. Not only is its flavor bright and unmistakable, but it also acts as a powerful antioxidant and strongly anti-inflammatory food owing to one of its components: curcumin.
Like many other potent antioxidants, curcumin is fat-soluble, and it is more bioavailable and does more good for your body when it is paired with fat. In this recipe, we partner turmeric not only with avocado oil which is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, but also grass-fed ghee, another nourishing fat, noted for its plethora of fat-soluble vitamins.
Curcumin is also made more bioavailable by black pepper, and you’ll often see the marriage of curcumin-rich turmeric with black pepper in traditional Indian cookery’s curries and sauces as well as in the recipe for Turmeric Chicken Kebabs below.
|Turmeric Chicken Kebabs over Basmati Rice with Charred Green Onions|| |
- 2 cups yogurt
- ¼ cup avocado oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic
- 2 tablespoons powdered turmeric
- 1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- ¼ cup cultured ghee
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1½ cups long-simmered chicken bone broth (recipe here or purchase it here)
- 1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
- 1 bunch scallions
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- ½ cup yogurt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- ½ teaspoon finely ground sea salt
- Whisk the yogurt, avocado oil, lemon juice, cilantro, garlic, turmeric, sea salt and black pepper together in a large glass bowl. Chop the chicken into 1-inch pieces and toss them into the marinade, stirring to coat them completely with the marinade. Cover the bowl, and then set it in the refrigerator to allow the chicken to marinate at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
- Pour the rice into a fine-mesh strainer, and then place it under the faucet, allowing the water to run through the rice until clear.
- Melt the ghee over high heat in a braising dish, and then toss in the rice, stirring until each grain is lightly coated. Pour in the chicken broth. Bring the chicken broth and rice to a boil over high heat, then immediately turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and allow the rice to cook, undisturbed, for twenty minutes or until the liquid is fully absorbed, and the rice tender and cooked through.
- Preheat the grill.
- Grill the kebabs over high heat, about 7 to 8 minutes on each side, until the meat is opaque and cooked through. Set the chicken on a plate to rest.
- When you turn the chicken, add the green onions to the grill and cook them until well-charred, about 8 minutes, turning once.
- Once the rice is fully cooked, set the charred green onions onto a cutting board, chop off and discard the root tip, then finely chop the remaining onions. Open the braising dish, fluff the rice with a fork, and lightly stir in the charred green onions, cilantro, and pumpkin seeds. Arrange the chicken skewers over the rice.
- Stir the yogurt with cilantro, mint, avocado oil and sea salt. Serve with the skewers and rice.
Prefer brown rice? You can use brown basmati rice, but make sure to prepare it by soaking it this way to reduce its antinutrient content. You might also consider using germinated brown rice instead, which needs no special preparation.
Where to Find Grass-Fed Ghee (and Super Potent Turmeric)
Cultured, grass-fed ghee gives this basmati rice an incredible luscious, nutty flavor that blends beautifully with pumpkin seeds and the brightness of fresh cilantro. We buy it from Pure Indian Foods, a longtime partner, that has used grass-fed butter to make their ghee for generations. You can order it online here, they also sell an extraordinarily potent turmeric which you can also order online here.
Our Favorite Easy Weeknight Meals
Getting a wholesome dinner on the table each night of the week can get a little tricky, which is why planning ahead is key. We recommend this meal planning system, where you can add many of the nutrient-dense, whole foods recipes you find on Nourished Kitchen.
But here’s some of our favorite weeknight meals that’ll make your dinnertime a little bit easier.
Quick Pho, from the cookbook Broth and Stock, is a super-easy meal that you can toss together in twenty minutes featuring a deeply fragrant broth perfumed by spices and fresh herbs, coupled with thinly sliced grass-fed beef and traditional rice noodles.
Honey Harissa Chicken with Brown Rice Pilaf is another twist on the classic dinner of chicken and rice, this time with fragrant spices, and a pilaf studded with dried fruit for just a little hint of sweetness.
Salmon with Honey Chipotle Bourbon Butter combines spicy, smoky chipotle peppers with a touch of honey and a punch of bourbon to slather over wild-caught salmon. It’s great served with grilled corn and a green salad.