Lebanese Yoghurt-Marinated Chicken Recipe

Updated on November 17, 2017

I have been trying to make lighter recipes over the past month, instead of the heavy fare that I have been rightfully accused of making. Partly, this is due to my love of experimenting and trying new food: I came to realize that although I might be making a "new" dish every time, it was always the same general genre, and so I had to try to make something new and different. Partly it was after a trip to Senegal, which although I greatly enjoyed, had involved eating a lot of very heavy food during the trip, and thus left me craving lighter food. And partly it was due to family members being on diets, meaning that I had to try to make something lighter.

This Lebanese-inspired dish comes from such a mission, with chicken marinated in yoghurt, mint, garlic, lemon juice, onion, and olive oil producing a delightful savory flavor to the chicken that permeates it and seeps into it. Chicken is aptly called to a cook what a canvas is to a painter, and this lives up to the title, providing an excellent mount for the yoghurt flavor. I try to serve it with pita bread in Lebanese style, but it would go well with plenty of other things as well.

This recipe is an adaption of that which I had found in the book Rose Water and Orange Blossoms by Maureen Abood.

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IngredientsIn preparation for grillingIngredients for the garlic sauceThe chicken upon the barbecueThe chicken being put into the marinade
In preparation for grilling
In preparation for grilling
Ingredients for the garlic sauce
Ingredients for the garlic sauce
The chicken upon the barbecue
The chicken upon the barbecue
The chicken being put into the marinade
The chicken being put into the marinade


  • 1 cup plain yoghurt
  • 1 grated medium-sized onion
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dried mint
  • 1.5-2 pounds chicken
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 5 cloves garlic, optional for garlic sauce
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, optional for garlic sauce
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, optional for garlic sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons water, optional for garlic sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, optional for garlic sauce


  1. Prepare the chicken for marinating, which you should plan to do 8-24 hours before it is cooked. Mix together the yoghurt, grated onion, 3 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 lemon juice 3 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 tablespoons mint in a bowl. Chop chicken, to 1-2" cubes. Add into bowl, mix well, refrigerate. The longer it refrigerates, the better.
  2. At some point, prepare the garlic sauce (which is optional, but I personally quite like it). Mince 5 garlic cloves, combine with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and blend in food processor or blender or equivalent. Add in 1/3 cup oil, blend more, then add in water, and the other 1/3 cup oil. This can be preserved up to several weels in refrigerator.
  3. Begin to prepare coals or broiler for cooking chicken.
  4. Remove chicken from marinade. Thread onto skewers, and season with salt and pepper (dry off some yoghurt if needed). The marinade can be discarded.
  5. Grill chicken around 10 minutes on the grill (until there is a bit of blackening), or 20 minutes in the broiler. Serve with the garlic sauce drizzled over it or on the side to be applied.

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Ryan Thomas


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      • Kulsum Mehmood profile image

        Dr Kulsum Mehmood 7 months ago from Nagpur, India

        Looks yummy Ryan. Will try out in my kitchen .....