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I have a few recipes that require marinating meat in yogurt (usually poultry), but none of them are particularly clear on what to do with the meat after marinating, but before cooking. For example, I have a chicken tikka masala recipe that essentially states:

  1. Remove chicken from marinade
  2. Put on skewers and grill; begin cooking sauce
  3. Remove chicken from skewers and add to sauce

In this example, every time the chicken goes from the grill to the pan of hot sauce, the excess yogurt on the chicken immedietely curdles, giving the sauce an almost gritty look to it. Given this dillema, I have a few questions regarding the yogurt marinade:

  • As a general rule, are you supposed to rinse the yogurt marinade off of the meat prior to cooking it?
  • If not, what is the best way to prevent the excess marinade from curdling in the pan?
  • Is there any particular type of yogurt that is better for marinades?
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possible duplicate of Does meat need to be washed before preparation? – Mien Aug 6 '13 at 17:14
@Mien: The question is not about whether or not to wash the meat as a matter of food safety. It is specifically about whether yogurt marinade needs to be removed prior to cooking, due to the fact that it curdles under heat. – valverij Aug 6 '13 at 20:45

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Don't Rinse

You should not need to do more than shake the excess marinade from your chicken, or if you want to be very thorough, pat it down with towels lightly.

If you rinsed, you would be washing away from of the flavor developed by your marinade, and the seasoning at the surface of the chicken.

Cook on

The goal is to not put the chicken on the grill with so much left over marinade that it fails to cook through and dry. By the time you are done grilling, the chicken should be essentially dry at the surface with nothing left to curdle.

The other goal of the grilling (or putting in the tandoor, I imagine, if you have one) is to develop the nice browned and delicious flavors, and that won't happen if there is still liquid yogurt on the surface.

Type of yogurt

The particular type of yogurt you use should not be a factor, since it should be fully cooked in the grilling phase.

However, in general, very high fat dairly products (like cream, or a yogurt made from full cream).

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Thanks, that actually answers a lot. – valverij Aug 6 '13 at 14:58

Normally when you grill the chicken to a cooked state, nothing wet (such as yoghurt) survives the experience.

In this case, it seems that the chicken is going to finish cooking in the sauce and you may be removing it from the grill before it's fully cooked (to prevent overdone meat in the stew).

What you may wish to do is to make sure the marinade coating isn't thick and run the grill at slightly higher temperature to make sure the marinade evaporates and the chicken picks up some colour from the grilling (this will mean a thin layer of the chicken will be done as well).

That way when it finishes in the pot you'll end up with a cooked and tender chicken with look and taste hints of the grilled chicken.

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