RECIPE

Zoodles getting a little boring? Amp them up with garam masala and an herby yogurt sauce

For a fast and flavorful salad, we paired zucchini noodles and chicken with North Indian-inspired spices

By America's Test Kitchen
Published July 31, 2021 4:30PM (EDT)
Close-Up of Fresh Zucchini Noodles in Baking Pan. (Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Close-Up of Fresh Zucchini Noodles in Baking Pan. (Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

For a fast and flavorful salad, we paired quick-cooking zucchini noodles and chicken. Garam masala (a north Indian spice blend that contains cumin, coriander, cinnamon, bay leaf, and black pepper); garlic; and ginger, traditionally used in north Indian meat dishes, give our chicken deep flavor. A cilantro-mint yogurt sauce evoked a cooling raita and diced mango added a touch of sweetness to the dish. 

Cooking zucchini noodles in two batches ensured that they didn't overcook and turn mushy. If possible, use smaller, in-season zucchini, which have thinner skins and fewer seeds. We prefer to spiralize our zucchini at home, but you can use store-bought zucchini noodles here. You will need two pounds of zucchini to get 1 ½ pounds of zucchini noodles. Cook the zucchini to your desired level of doneness but be careful not to overcook. 

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Recipe: Zucchini noodle-chicken salad with ginger and garam masala
Serves 4 

Salad 

  • 1 mango, peeled and cut into ¼ -inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or mint
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 8 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 teaspoons garam masala, divided
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon table salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 ½ pounds zucchini noodles, cut into 6-inch lengths, divided
  • 1 recipe Herb-Yogurt Sauce (recipe follows)

 

Herb-yogurt sauce 
Makes 1 cup 

  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint or parsley 
  • 1 garlic clove minced

Directions

1. For the sauce, whisk all ingredients together in bowl. Cover and refrigerate until flavors meld, at least 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (Sauce can be  refrigerated for up to 4 days.) 

2. For the salad, combien mango, cilantro, and lemon juice in bowl; season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside until ready to serve. Whisk 2 teaspoons oil, garlic, 2 teaspoons garam masala, ginger, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper together in medium bowl, then add chicken and toss to coat. 

3. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chicken and cook until browned on all sides, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to clean bowl, cover with aluminum foil to keep warm and set aside until ready to serve. 

4. Heat 2 teaspoons in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add 1 teaspoon garam masala, ½ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon pepper, and half of zucchini noodles and cooking, tossing frequently until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Transfer to individual plates and repeat with remaining 2 teaspoons of oil, remaining 1 teaspoon of garam masala, remaining ⅛ teaspoon salt, remaining ⅛ teaspoon of pepper, and remaining zucchini noodles. Top zucchini noodles with chicken, mango mixture, and sauce. Serve.

If you like this recipe as much as we do, check out "The Complete Salad Cookbook" by America's Test Kitchen.


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America's Test Kitchen Recipe Salad Zoodles Zucchini