It is said that, given a dozen hours to do so, a yogurt marinade can tenderize chicken. Well, we don’t have that kind of time, but I can tell you what a 20-minute rest in this sunny mixture does for plain old chunks of chicken breast: It coats them, acting like a moisture-lock so the meat stays juicy. That is no small feat for white-meat chicken under the broiler.

The spice mixture includes cardamom, a familiar favorite in Persian cookery and one of the season’s new additions to our Dinner in Minutes Pantry. The other new Ingredient Kids on the Block are asparagus, bacon, bread and zucchini. It’s going to be a tasty summer!

The knife work here will take you hardly any time at all, with only red onion and garlic to break down. You might have time during the prep to soak a few bamboo skewers; if not, you’ll need 4 medium-size metal skewers. I prefer using the latter, as there is no risk of stray wooden threads during the skewered-kebab dismount.

Even if you’re cooking for only one or two, use the amounts listed below. Leftovers will make a nice next-day lunch.

In addition to flatbread, you can serve this with rice and/or a chopped salad.

Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.


1/2 medium red onion

1 large clove garlic

1/4 cup Greek yogurt, preferably full fat

1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Generous pinch ground cardamom (up to 1/2 teaspoon; see OVERVIEW)

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1/2 to 1 whole lemon

Warm flatbread, for serving


Step 1

Peel and coarsely chop the red onion and garlic. Place them both in a food processor, then add the yogurt, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, crushed red pepper flakes and salt. Pulse just until the onion is finely chopped, then transfer to a mixing bowl.

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Step 2

Cut the chicken into 1 1/2-inch chunks (discarding any visible fat), seasoning them lightly with more salt. Add the chicken to the yogurt mixture and stir to coat evenly; let sit for 20 minutes at room temperature. (During this time, you could soak bamboo skewers in a shallow pan of water if you don’t have metal skewers.)

Step 3

Meanwhile, cut the lemon (half or whole; to taste) into wedges approximately the same size as the chicken pieces. Position an oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler element; preheat the broiler. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Step 4

Thread the coated chicken pieces and lemon wedges onto the skewers so the components are just touching each other. Place the skewers on the pan; broil for about 8 minutes, turning them once with tongs halfway through. The chicken and lemon should be lightly charred in spots.

Step 5

Transfer to plates; pull the chicken and lemon off the skewers. Squeeze the broiled/lightly charred lemon wedges over the chicken while it’s hot, and serve with flatbread.

Adapted from “New Kitchen Basics,” by Claire Thomson (HardieGrant/Quadrille, 2019).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.

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The nutritional analysis is based on 3 servings.


Calories: 200; Total Fat: 5 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Cholesterol: 100 mg; Sodium: 460 mg; Carbohydrates: 5 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Sugars: 2 g; Protein: 33 g.