Grilled Chicken Skewers with Indian Marinade and Cucumber Raita

If you’re looking for a new, flavor-packed marinade for grilled chicken, give this fragrant Indian marinade a try! Made with curry powder, turmeric, coriander, garlic, lemon, and cilantro, it infuses grilled chicken skewers with lots of rich, warm, complex flavor. Add a cool, refreshing cucumber raita (yogurt sauce) to round out the meal (250 calories or 3 WW points)!

In the spring and summertime, I’m outside almost every night, grilling chicken with lemon herb marinade, Asian soy ginger marinade, Caribbean marinade, or making Mediterranean grilled shrimp…even steak tips. And now I’m adding a new marinade recipe to the list—a flavorful and fragrant Indian marinade for chicken. I like to turn them into grilled chicken skewers, but the marinade works well for any type of chicken or cooking method.

The Indian marinade is straightforward: whisk together curry powder, ground turmeric, ground coriander, garlic, lemon juice, fresh cilantro, salt, pepper, and olive oil. The lemon works to tenderize the meat, while the garlic, herbs, and spices infuse the chicken with warm, earthy, complex flavor. Curry powder, after all, is typically a blend of coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, chili peppers, and sometimes ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and more. The combination of all of these fragrant spices creates a richness and depth of flavor that you just couldn’t get with one or two spices alone.

Combine the marinade with chicken breast tenderloins (or whole chicken breasts that you cut into thin strips) and let them marinate for at least an hour and up to 24 hours. You can thread the chicken on metal or wooden skewers—or skip them altogether if you don’t have any skewers— and grill until the chicken is cooked through and has a crisp, golden brown char from the grill. Remember that if you plan to use wooden skewers, they need to be soaked in water for 30 minutes before using.

As a cool, creamy complement to the flavorful Indian marinade, I like to make an easy cucumber raita—an Indian yogurt sauce—to serve alongside them. The mix of plain whole-milk yogurt, finely chopped cucumber, cilantro, garlic, salt, and a pinch of cayenne, adds the perfect amount of tang and freshness to our Indian chicken skewers.



Grilled Chicken Skewers with Indian Marinade and Cucumber Raita

  • Author: Andie Mitchell
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Poultry
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Indian



For the cucumber raita:
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1/3 of a medium cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
1 garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
Pinch salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

For the grilled chicken skewers:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons curry powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch fresh ground black pepper
1 ¼ pounds chicken breast tenderloins


In a gallon-sized resealable plastic bag, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, cilantro, garlic, curry powder, turmeric, coriander, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken, press as much air out of the bag as you can, and seal it. Turn the bag in your hands, massaging the marinade into the chicken and making sure that all of the pieces are covered. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. **If you plan to use wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes before using.

Make the raita. Blot the chopped cucumber with paper towels to remove excess moisture, then place the cucumber in a small bowl. Add the yogurt, cilantro, garlic, salt, and pepper. Optional: add a pinch of cayenne for a touch of heat. Stir, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Preheat your gas grill with all burners on high and close the lid. When the grill is hot (after about 15 minutes), turn the 2 burners closest to the front to low, keeping the back burner on high. Remove the chicken from the bag and thread the tenderloins on the skewers (dividing the chicken evenly among the skewers). Arrange the skewers on the grates over the low heat burners. Cover and cook until the underside of the chicken is just beginning to develop light grill marks, about 6 minutes. Flip the chicken, cover, and continue to cook until the chicken is firm to touch, about 6 minutes longer. To get a nice char on the chicken, now move the chicken to the part of the grill over high flames and cook uncovered until each side has solid grill marks, 5 to 6 minutes, flipping halfway. The chicken should be completely firm to the touch and register 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the skewers to a plate, tent with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving alongside the cucumber raita.


Nutrition for 1 serving grilled chicken with cucumber raita (1/4 of the chicken and yogurt sauce): 3 WW Freestyle points

Nutrition for 1 serving of chicken *without* cucumber raita: 1 WW Freestyle point //
215 calories, 7g fat, 1g sat fat, 103mg cholesterol, 356mg sodium, 2g carbs, 0g fiber, 32g protein


  • Calories: 250
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Sodium: 384mg
  • Fat: 9g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Carbohydrates: 4g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Protein: 34g
  • Cholesterol: 110mg

Keywords: Indian marinade, grilled chicken, curry chicken