Oven-Grilled Turmeric and Chilli Chicken Breast, or Quick Turmeric Chicken Cold Cuts

coldcutspWhen summer approaches, the lucky outdoor grill owning bloggers start writing about marinades, rubs, sauces and other related cooking tips… They always remind me that the absence of a grilling space is probably the only thing I miss living in the city centre. All I can do is content myself with these oven-grilled chicken breasts. They might not taste as good as the “real thing”, but they are quicker than baked ones, while the resulting cold cuts are undeniably delicious and may be used in dozens of ways (see below). I decided to post something so incredibly easy when I learnt that none of my friends practiced this method and when I realised they were all surprisingly enthusiastic to discover it. Then, when I saw Nami from Just One Cookbook use the oven broiler to prepare Yakitori (chicken skewers), I thought it was the moment to share this idea, hoping it might be useful to some of my dear visitors.

Chicken breasts prepared this way have been a staple in my house for several years. The spice rub recipe had been unchanged before I discovered that curry powder (invented by the British) has got nothing to do with Indian cuisine and is even seen as an insult to this extraordinary culinary heritage by certain Indians… Then I threw away this false condiment, simply swapped it for turmeric and chilli powder… my baked chicken breast started to taste much better! (I have updated this post accordingly).

When I have particularly busy weeks I put them under my oven grill even several times a week. Of course the main reason for that is my chicken addiction, but as I have mentioned above, they are also easy, quick, stay fresh in the fridge for a couple of days and most of all, they are extremely versatile, so I often grill them without any precise dish in my head. Here are only some of the ideas of how to use them:
– served whole, as a part of a main course, with some carbs and vegetables
– chilled and sliced, in a sandwich or canapé
– in a full meal vegetable salad with cubes of grilled chicken instead of ham or other protein sources (check this Spring Salad with a Fried Egg and substitute the chicken for ham)
– on top of a bowlful of steamed rice
– in rice/pasta salads
– in pasta to which you add the cut up chicken breast at the end, only to warm it
– in spring rolls (for example with asparagus or carrot and mint)
– as a party snack served with toothpicks and sauce
– in Asian-inspired vegetable stir-fries (the cubed meat can be added at the end to warm up), and so on… the list is very long.

UPDATE: Reading Nami’s (from Just One Cookbook) kind comment I have just remembered that I have been grilling exactly the same way, under the broiler, also Garlic Miso Chicken Breasts, a fabulous and very easy dish I have slightly adapted from Nami’s Garlic Miso Chicken Wings, only one of the many inspiring Nami’s ideas you will find in more or less tweaked form on my blog and on my table.

TIPS: The only tricky part here is to learn the exact grilling time since it depends on the oven broiler, on the distance between the breast and the source of heat and of course on the breast’s thickness. I usually count 10 + 5 minutes and  obtain juicy meat inside, but golden and crunchy outside. Once you master your grilling time, it will be a piece of cake.

I usually season the breasts with salt, turmeric, chilli powder and dried garlic. Sometimes I add dried thyme, which goes surprisingly well with the rest. Choose whichever version you prefer, but start maybe without thyme…

Preparation: about 20 minutes


1 chicken breast

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon powdered chilli (choose sweet paprika if you cannot take the heat)


powdered garlic


1 tablespoon oil (coconut fat is much much better!)

Heat the oven broiler.

Season the chicken breast with salt, turmeric, garlic and chilli on both sides, pressing with your palms so that the seasoning stays at the surface.

Brush with oil on both sides.

Place on a piece of aluminum foil or on a grill rack (baking paper tends to burn, so be careful if you use it instead of the foil).

Grill under the broiler for about 10 minutes.

Flip the breast and grill for another 5 minutes.

29 Replies to “Oven-Grilled Turmeric and Chilli Chicken Breast, or Quick Turmeric Chicken Cold Cuts”

  1. It’s a shame that you don’t have a space for grilling but it looks like the added flavour from the curry gives you a pretty tasty piece of chicken to eat hot or cold.

    1. Thank you, A_Boleyn. I don’t think I ever will… unless I move one day into a huge flat with a huge balcony where I’m allowed to grill 🙂

  2. I use broil all the time for my wings and all kinds of meat dishes especially when I want the nice char on my food. After reading food blog posts for the past 3 years, I learned that broiling is not as common as baking for cooking meat. I didn’t know that till I started following food blogs. =P We’re minority, Sissi! That makes me even more “non-baker” as I use broiler more often. Tee heee. Thank you for the shoutout, Sissi! Your curried chicken looks yum. I’d love to put it on the noodles, rice, or salad. Adds nice flavor from the meat.

    1. Hi, Nami. Thank you for the kind comment. It’s such a pleasure that you also share this simple, but not so popular way to use the oven… Reading your words I instantly thought about your garlic and miso chicken wings I have adapted to chicken breasts… I prepare them very often but somehow forgot to mention here (I have just updated my post; thank you so much for reminding me about this delicious recipe).

      1. Haha! Another thing we have in common! (I’m so used to broiling I haven’t even realised I do it so often with other dishes too…). I’m sorry I have forgotten about your delicious garlic and miso flavouring… I should have mentioned the wings earlier. (It reminds me I need to change the photograph of my breast skewers… they don’t look appetising at all… it will be a good excuse to make them soon 🙂 ).

  3. I love all of your dry rub ingredients. Cold cuts would be good. I would enjoy it mixed in a salad. Thank you and have a good week Sissi. 🙂

  4. Well, my friend I think you found a great way to bypass the fact that you do not own a grill by making these oven grilled chicken breasts so tasty with all the spices you added. We do own an outdoor grill, but truth is that we are so tired from work we do not feel like making anything of a sort during weekends!

    1. Thanks a lot, Katerina. Now that I think… I would probably be also too tired to use my outdoor grill during the week… but it would be nice to be able to make a grilling party from time to time 🙂

  5. This is the perfect example of necessity being the mother of invention, nicely fine Sissi. I bet the apartment smells great while baking them too.
    In Toronto you’re allowed a small electric grill on the balcony, but never a real fire grill. Now they also have halogen grills which can get very hot to sear steaks properly.
    I also bought a cast iron grill which let’s me grill inside on the gas too, but it does make it rather smoky inside.
    I usually do the same thing with a whole chicken, so versatile as you mentioned. I adore the flavour of left over chicken done this way.

    1. Thank you, Eva. I’m not sure if I’m allowed a grill on my balcony, but it’s so small anyway, I hardly have space for my herb boxes… Whole chicken? Wow! it sounds impressive. I must try it one day.

  6. I can relate to the lack of a barbecue… we have not yet settled into a home environment here in the Silicon Valley and I find myself missing my outdoor grill quite a bit. I think the thing that ‘gets me’ is the smell… when you’re walking around outside and you catch a whiff of that gorgeous charcoal grilling meat and it turns you inside out… sigh ;-). (But, I would still rather live downtown than the burbs) so cheers to the broiler! :). I have to admit that I don’t use the broil option on my oven very often — I think it’s because when I’ve tried it in the past with succulent meats and marinades, etc. it gives rise to so much sputtering and sparking, I’m afraid the whole thing is going to go up in flames… a dry rub such as the lovely one you propose here with a leaner meat might work much better and since I too always have chicken around, I should definitely give this one a try. A great suggestion indeed; thanks Sissi.

    1. Thank you, Kelly. Yes… the barbecue smell is inebriating… You are right: when the marinade is quite liquid, the oven gets quite dirty (frankly I don’t mind, as long as it tastes well 😉 ).

  7. I miss grilling too. It’s a bit difficult to recreate the European summer grilling time experience in Goa. We have other challenges, although we have a garden. So this summer we hope to get to Europe and then I can show my husband how lovely grilling is during summer. =) I will be saving your recipe for later on, it looks and sounds very appetizing.

    1. Thank you, Helene. I have always imagined a garden is all one needs to grill outside 🙂 I hope your husband gets quickly convinced about the miracles of grilling.

  8. Hi Sissi, I’ve been missing commenting for so long on everyone’s blog. Just haven’t been active on my own either, for a couple weeks. I do love the curry powder on this lovely chicken breast, broiled under the grill, in the oven. I rarely use the broil…only to melt cheese or just a ‘gratine’. Should use it more often. I do have 2 different kind of indoor grills, a cast iron pan, and a George Forman; the large one which is electric and grills in minutes. Love your recipe, and I love that this delicious breast can be eaten warm or cold on a nice sandwich roll or bread!

    1. Hi, Elisabeth, nice to see you again. Thank you for the compliments. I think all the Indians hate curry powder… but I like it for a quick spicy fix.
      I also grill on a grilling pan, but the taste from the broiled meat is different. I have a small electric grill but without smoky flavours from flames, it’s not the same… and it does take quite a lot of time.

    1. Thank you for the advice. (I have seen such grills somewhere). The problem is not with the grill but the grilling space.

      1. I am not sure if we are talking about the same thing. The one I mentioned is the size of a large plate, and about 5cm high. You can place it on top of your stove – or even in a small balcony.

          1. Thats the grill I was referring to (though its quite expensive from that site – its 3 times cheaper here). I think because its so small, you can place it on top of your stove and have the ventilation on, it should work. It will definitely work on the balcony unless there is a rule/law prohibiting it.

            1. Thank you. I should try buying it (this one is very cheap though maybe a too much for just one grilling session). I have crowded my small balcony with herb boxes and there is hardly a space for one person to stand… so I will opt for the stove top if I ever find this grill cheaper.

        1. On the other hand they say such a grill works on a balcony too… Does the grill you mention work with charcoal too?

  9. Have you tried an “indoor” table-top barbecue? Yeah, they’re not even close to being as good as the “real” outdoor thing, but it’s an adequate substitute for apartment dwellers. One of the things I love about living here is that everyone’s obsessed with grilling. They have communal grills all over the place in parks and next to rivers, where you can just go along with some wood, make a little fire and cook some sausages or whatever.

    Of course, they’re not really the places where you break out a fancy marinade and spend 30 minutes grilling duck or chicken or something, but the concept is nice nonetheless.

    I absolutely love curry spice and chicken together (but not chicken curry, strangely), so something like this I’d love. The colour looks so lovely too, ooh, and I just noticed the knife as well! Glad it’s coming in useful still!

    1. Hi, Charles. Yes, I have had the experience with these at friends’ or family’s house, but I must say it’s quite messy to wash and smells so strong… the temperature is often not high enough (actually always, from my experience), so nothing to do with the real thing. It’s nice though when having guests. It’s fun when everyone can grill her/his own food.
      I will maybe buy one day the teppanyaki grill, but it must reach very high temperature.
      Here people love grilling too. There is a huge part along the lake where people come and grill every weekend too.
      Thank you for the compliments. Your knife is not only a beautiful object but a useful one too 🙂 Thank you again!

Comments are closed.