Exotic flavors jazz up chicken and vegetables

When it comes to grilling, the global spice rack offers a world of exotic flavors. In India, garam masala is the go-to spice blend. The name means "warm" or "hot" and so expect this seasoning to offer some spicy heat to the dish. A blend of up to a dozen spices, there are as many variations as there are cooks in the kitchen. The exact combination of spices varies by brand but may include pepper, coriander, cumin, dried chilies and others.

This recipe for garam masala grilled chicken and vegetables is a mildly spicy dish built on a bed of naan, an Indian flatbread similar to pita.

Shopping tips: As written, this recipe is not very hot; feel free to add more. Garam masala is becoming popular and is now more readily available in larger grocery stores, but is easily purchased in stores specializing in Indian or Asian cuisines.

Garam Masala Grilled Chicken and Vegetables

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 (6-oz.) cartons low-fat plain yogurt, divided

3 teaspoons garam masala, divided

1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into quarters

1 medium red onion, sliced 1/2-inch thick

1 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise 1/2-inch thick

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

4 (3-oz.) whole wheat naan or pita breads

1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped

2 tablespoons minced cilantro

Pound chicken breasts to 1/2-inch thickness and place in zip-top bag. Combine 1 carton yogurt and 2 teaspoons garam masala; blend well and spoon over chicken. Seal bag and massage to coat chicken pieces evenly. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Place vegetables in a zip-top bag; drizzle with oil, seal and shake to coat evenly. Sprinkle vegetables with 1/2 teaspoon garam masala; seal and shake to coat evenly.

Stir remaining garam masala into remaining yogurt; cover and refrigerate.

Spray grill grate with nonstick spray coating. Preheat grill to medium-high or allow coals to burn to white ash. Remove chicken from yogurt marinade; discard any remaining marinade. Place chicken and vegetables on grill. Grill over direct heat in a covered grill 8 to 10 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked, no longer pink inside and a meat thermometer registers 170 degrees and vegetables are tender, turning midway through to cook evenly. Remove chicken and vegetables to platter as they are done, cover and keep warm.

Spray both sides of naan with nonstick spray coating. Grill about 30 to 60 seconds per side, or until bread is warm.

Slice chicken breasts into thin strips about 2 inches long. Slice peppers into thin, vertical strips and slice zucchini in half and then into thin strips. Halve onion slices and separate into rings. For each serving place one slice warm naan on each plate. Dollop about 1 tablespoon reserved yogurt mixture on top of each bread. Top evenly with slices of chicken and vegetables. Sprinkle with chopped tomatoes and minced cilantro. Pass remaining yogurt mixture to dollop on top, as desired. Makes 4 servings

Per serving: 456 calories (12 percent from fat), 6 grams total fat (2 grams saturated), 71 milligrams cholesterol, 60 grams carbohydrates, 42 grams protein, 339 milligrams sodium, 7 grams dietary fiber.

The Wichita Eagle—05/04/10