Lightly spicy with a hint of tangy, this yogurt smothered chicken makes for perfect sandwiches, tacos or goes well with sides
Most of my recipes evolve naturally, out of some necessity or chance ingredients coming into play. This Ginger + Turmeric Yogurt Dressing being no exception.
Perhaps you’ve heard me mention my near religious consumption of fresh Ginger and Turmeric Tea. This tea habit results in needing to either make use of or dispose of the pulp from each brew. Because I know that the cooked pulp is full of nutrients, I just can’t throw it out in good conscious! As a result, I’m always looking for ways to use the cooked rhizomes.
I’ve found that the pulp can be added to smoothies, sautés, curry or dressings, and ended up working really well in the yogurt dressing for this chicken salad. In fact I tested making the dressing with raw ginger and turmeric and it wasn’t as tasty. The flavor had a sharper edge that didn’t incorporate, or balance, as well with the tart yogurt.
Now you’ve got the backstory behind this wonderfully healthy and simple recipe! I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.
As with most of my recipes, the separate components allow for the flexibility of mixing them up and making more of one or the other to be enjoyed in various combinations. The dressing can for example also be used over grains or greens.
Ginger + Turmeric Yogurt Dressing
Following the directions for the dressing, you’ll end up with a delicious Ginger-Turmeric Tea as a byproduct. I like to drink it pipping hot without any honey or milk. If you’re not accustomed to the taste, try it with a dash of honey, possibly some almond milk and a dash of cinnamon. Drink warm or chilled.
- Be sure to brew the tea in a teapot with a strainer so that you can easily remove the pulp and squeeze out any excess liquid.
- Use Greek yogurt for the dressing.
- If you only have access to regular yogurt, mince the ginger and turmeric, and mix by hand. Otherwise the yogurt will become very runny blended in a food processor or blender.
This method of boiling chicken whole, then removing the meat from the carcass and pulling it into strips, is one of my absolute favorite ways to prepare chicken.
Originally devised for a Mexican taco recipe, this method is simply the most flavorful and most economical way to eat a whole bird. A 3.5 pound chicken will yield at least 6 portions. This means that me and my husband can get 3+ dinners out of just one chicken.
If you’re not using a whole chicken, it’s also a great cooking method for chicken breasts—breasts being my favorite cut for this recipe. The dark meat is most nutritious, but I do prefer the milder flavor of the breast.
On the upside if you’re like me and not a huge fan of the gamey taste of dark meat, this cooking method allows for the spices to permeate every bite. If the gamey flavor comes through at all, it’s very mild.
Keep these tips in mind the first time you try this cooking method:
- After boiling the chicken you’ll reserve 2 cups of the cooking liquid for this recipe. Use the remaining liquid to make bone broth, or to use in another recipe that could benefit from the slight umami flavor, such as a pot of grains or wilted greens.
- Once the chicken has cooled, you’ll be shredding the chicken by hand. This is fairly easy but time consuming. Goes much faster if you have a couple pairs of hands going at it! Go one leg, wing and breast at a time, simply pulling away the meat in shreds.
- Buy a pair of meat claws to make shredding go a little faster.
- Freeze the remaining bones and skin for making bone broth at a later date.
- If you’ed prefer an easier undertaking, simply use 4 breasts in place of a whole chicken. This will be a little more expensive and a bit less nutritious, but sometimes compromises have to be made. To boil only breasts, reduce cooking time to 15 minutes.
- Don’t worry if any part of your shredded chicken looks bloody. The chicken will be cooked thoroughly once shredded.
Once you’ve cooked down the shredded meat with the spices, let it cool to make sandwiches topped with the yogurt dressing or serve hot over arugula and smothered in the dressing, along with the same toppings as for the sandwich.
The meat and dressing are also excellent over sautéed hearty greens with a side of millet or other grain, or served as the filling for south-east Asian flavored tacos!