Want to change up your marinade … try yoghurt


Did you know that yoghurt makes an excellent marinade for meat? Read on to find out how to use it to make your meat dishes tender and flavourful.


We all know that yoghurt is excellent for your gut health, but it also makes a great marinade for all sorts of meat. The lactic acid and cultures contained in yoghurt get to work on the meat and tenderise it beautifully, in a similar way that buttermilk does.  We have Indian cooking traditions to thank for this technique - yoghurt is used as a marinade in traditional Indian cooking where spices like garam masala, chilli and turmeric marry with the yoghurt to create the delicious yet tender dishes we love, like Tandoori chicken and chicken Biryani. Alternatively, if you’re planning to grill your meat, the yoghurt caramelises to a tasty sear.


Marinating time is ideally long (about 8-12 hours) for the yoghurt to do its magic, but even a quick 30-minute marinade give you some of the benefits.


Which yoghurt?

When we say yoghurt, we mean natural Greek yoghurt.  Please check the label of your yoghurt to make sure you haven’t chosen a sweetened type, or worse, a vanilla flavoured one!


Which meat?

Chicken and lamb are ideal meats for a yoghurt marinade. They pair well with Mediterranean and  Middle Eastern flavours like garlic, lemon, oregano, cumin and coriander, as well as Indian spices like garam masala and turmeric.


For a classic Indian marinade, combine a cup of yoghurt, a little grated ginger, two crushed garlic cloves, juice of one lime, a pinch of salt, and half a teaspoon each of chili powder, turmeric, garam masala, coriander powder and dried fenugreek leaves in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Toss chicken pieces (diced chicken breast, wings, bone-in thighs or drumsticks) to coat them in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight for a deeper flavour.  Wipe off excess marinade and then cook as planned - in a curry, oven-roasted or grilled.


For a Middle Eastern marinade, combine a cup of yoghurt with two crushed garlic cloves, juice of half a lemon, and a half a teaspoon each of chili powder, ground cumin and ground coriander in a mixing bowl and mix well. Coat your meat of choice – lamb cutlets are perfect with this marinade, but chicken or pork are delicious too – cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or as long as overnight.  Wipe off excess marinade and grill or oven roast on a high heat. Serve with yoghurt spiced with dried cumin, coriander, a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon.

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