Is there such a thing as a food nerd? Well, if there is, then I am one. In a “you need help” kind of way. You see, when there is the prospect of playing around with a new ingredient, I become inordinately excited. A little glint comes into my eye as I start muttering ingredient combinations and recipe ideas under my breath. My children pretend not to know me. Such was the case when I cracked open a bottle of kefir.
If you’ve never experienced kefir, it’s very similar to many of the drinkable yogurt beverages on the market. It’s cultured, packed with probiotics and fermented to give it a slightly tart flavor and nutritional benefits that reach to the sun and back. The brand of kefir that I used, made by Green Valley Organics, has another benefit. It’s lactose-free.
As I was muttering about recipe possibilities for the kefir, classic Indian tandoori chicken came to mind. Tandoori chicken is made by marinating the chicken in a mixture of plain yogurt and various spices, then cooking it in a special cylindrical clay oven, called a tandoor. Well, I wasn’t using yogurt and I don’t have a tandoor at my disposal. Instead, I whisked together a marinade of kefir, curry paste, garlic and ginger, marinated the chicken, then grilled it on our gas barbecue (see How to: Grill Like a Girl). Okay, not traditional…but still darn good.
Typically I would serve mango chutney or raita (yogurt and cucumber mixture) with a dish like this. However, since I was already breaking with tradition, I thought I’d go a step further. Besides, I had some ears of sweet corn sitting in my fridge and I just couldn’t ignore them. Within 10 minutes I had a bowl of fresh corn and red pepper salsa to spoon over top of the chicken. Summertime bliss! We finished the meal some Raspberry Crumb Bars with Almond Streusel Topping.
So, where do you find kefir? It’s sold in Whole Foods Markets, as well as many other health food and specialty stores. If you’re looking for more reasons to opt for the Green Valley Organics brand, besides the obvious health benefits, take a look at some of the ways that they run their business. For example, the family-owned farm and creamery are 100% solar powered and certified humane. In addition, all of the products are non-GMO, and don’t include any preservatives and artificial coloring. In other words, I can feel pretty darn good about serving their products to my family.
In a large bowl, whisk together the kefir, curry paste, garlic, ginger and salt.
Add chicken breasts and turn to coat. Cover, refrigerate and marinate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.
Preheat the grill to medium-high. Lightly oil the grill. Cook the chicken until it is just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
Do not overcook the chicken. Just say, “NO!” to dry chicken.
Let the chicken rest for a few minutes before slicing.
First, boil or grill the ears of corn. (See How to: Grill Corn) Cut the kernels off of the corn and place in a medium bowl.
Add the diced red bell pepper and minced jalapeno to the bowl. Stir in the extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Gently stir in the chopped cilantro.
Slice the chicken on the diagonal and serve with the corn salsa.
Other recipes using kefir:
Chocolate & Zucchini’s Lemon Kefir Ice Cream
Two Peas and Their Pod’s Whole Wheat Kefir Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce
The Vintage Mixer’s Baked Nutmeg Donut with Berry Icing
Pinch My Salt’s Creamy Chilled Cucumber & Avocado Soup
From the kitchen of Cookin Canuck. www.cookincanuck.com
- 2 cups plain kefir (such Green Valley Organics)
- 3 tbsp mild curry paste (such as Patak's)
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tbsp peeled & minced fresh ginger
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 ears boiled or grilled corn
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 – 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds & membranes removed, & minced
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large bowl, whisk together the kefir, curry paste, garlic, ginger and salt.
- Add chicken breasts and turn to coat. Cover, refrigerate and marinate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high. Lightly oil the grill. Cook the chicken until it is just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Let the chicken rest for a few minutes before slicing.
- Cut the kernels off of the corn and place in a medium bowl. Add the diced red bell pepper and minced hot pepper to the bowl. Stir in the extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Gently stir in the chopped cilantro.
- Slice the chicken on the diagonal and serve with the corn salsa.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by the good people at Redwood Hill Farm/Green Valley Organics and they also provided me with some products, free of charge.