Indian Flavored Pounded Chicken

March 18, 2015

Indian Flavored Pounded Chicken

One the things I like most about cooking is learning new cooking techniques and trying new cooking methods.
I always find it fascinating. I’m like “Whoa this is genius, I should have thought of it myself!
Take a chicken breast for instance, how many ways can you cook it?
Well, you can boil it (blah!), broil it, bake it, fry it, slow-cook it, grill it, smoke it, even burn it
you can butterfly the breast and pound the meat thin (so thin it looks like a chicken pizza), season it, and briefly cook it over high heat.
After just 2 minutes in a hot pan, you have a crazy tender, deliciously thin chicken breast that is so succulent and juicy I can say without fear it’s one of the most great tasting piece of chicken I had in a long time.

Indian Flavored Pounded Chicken

I’ve learned this cooking technique in Marco Canora’s latest cookbook “A Good Food Day”, (which btw I discovered by listening to The Splendid Table on WNYC-FM.)
What’s genius about it, is that by pounding the chicken breast pizza thin, you increase the surface area of meat touching the skillet and that creates a delicious caramelized crust.
But that’s not it; the chicken also cooks more evenly, without drying, and — last but not least — it absorbs better the flavors.

Indian Flavored Pounded Chicken

It’s also super quick.
The longest part of the entire process is pounding the meat which btw is a great stress-reliever at the end of a long day.
Another extra-benefit to this method is that the bid size of the "pizza" meat tricks you into thinking you’re getting a lot more than just one breast. (When your plate looks full, you tend to believe you’re eating more)
In other words, this is your typical win-win-win situation.
One final note, I’ve flavored my pounded chicken with a mix of Indian spices, feel free to play around with different spices and herbs though. There’s no going wrong with this recipe!

Indian Flavored Pounded Chicken
                                                                         Print this recipe!
Barely adapted from A Good Food Day

A couple of notes. As per the author suggestion, I’ve used small chicken breasts as they’re easier to pound out to a uniform thickness.
You can also prepare the breasts ahead of time, cover them chicken in plastic wrap before flavoring them and refrigerate. They’ll keep for up to 2 days.

Serves 4

4 (6 ounces) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons onion powder
3 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil


In a small bowl combine ground cumin, turmeric, ground coriander, onion powder, salt, black pepper, and olive oil. Set aside.
Starting at the thicker side, using a sharp knife make a lengthwise horizontal cut into the top ⅔ of each chicken breast, stopping before cutting all the way through.
Fold the chicken breast open like a book (it should still be in one piece.)
Put it between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound it out on both sides with the flat side of a meat tenderizer, working from the center out, until it’s spread to double its original size and about ¼ inch thick.
Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.
Remove plastic wrap and rub the olive-spice paste evenly across one side of the 4 chicken breasts. Cover with plastic wrap again and lightly pound in the seasoning with the toothy side of the meat tenderizer. Flip the breasts, rub the remaining olive oil-spice o into the other side of the chicken breasts. Cover with plastic wrap and lightly pound in the seasoning.
Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large over high heat.
When it’s sizzling, add 1 chicken breast, put a weight on it (a cast iron pan or tea kettle should work) and cook for 1 minute. Flip, add the weight, and cook for another 1 minute (this may vary depending on thin your meat is, just make sure the chicken is cooked through!).
Transfer to a plate, and let it rest for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.

Nutrition facts

One serving yields 344 calories, 13 grams of fat, 0 grams of carbs, and 53 grams of protein.


  1. Genius indeed! I sometimes do that then grill it - with a marinade that has just a touch of something sweet, agave nectar or honey. Cannot use too much or it burns, but since the cooking goes at lightning speed, you get this incredibly gorgeous grill marks...

    I don't think I pounded as thin as you did, but I am smaller than you, older, more frail, you know.... a much weaker person compared to Iron Man Mike!


    love the Indian spices you used. I shall imitate you. Highest form of flattery, they say...

  2. I'm so excited about this, I'm all for more surface area ratio for more flavor! The quick cooking time is also a major bonus, it seems like so many Indian recipes take a while in the kitchen - thanks for the great inspiration!

  3. Dinner ready in a flash? Love it! I first saw a friend do this 5 years ago and I didn't know why he was taking a mallet to the chicken. I never remember to do this and I should! It is so good!

  4. Thinly pounded chicken is pretty darn amazing - but, thinly pounded chicken WITH cumin AND coriander is simply awesmazing!

  5. Great idea and the quicker sometimes the better. Will have to put this one in my cooking toolbelt of tricks. Thanks! Funny, at first glance I did think it a dough of sorts, like a flatbread or pita. To find it to be chicken was great.

  6. I LOVE pounding the @$% out of chicken breasts! Tastes great and gets some stresses out :) PS made the ricotta fritters with dinner tonight - turned out delish, but not nearly as presentable as yours! Thanks again!!

  7. Cauliflower king and now chicken king too. I wonder what will be the next crown you wear....I dunno what is trending now, Matcha.

    1. Matcha? I dunno...I like it, I don't love it though!

  8. Yes! I love this idea. I typically end up rolling the chicken with stuff whenever I pound it out "pizza thin." I've never thought about just leaving it like it. I also love that cutting board! I know I should be commenting on your superbly amazing cooking skills and recipe, but I kinda want to just come over and steal your cutting board. If you find it missing later, don't look at me. #WolfpackBorrowingClub

    1. You can have the cutting board if you like it, I almost never use it. It's too heavy and so difficult to wash, a major pain!

  9. Holy thin-ness! you! You could even make a pizza on that chicken and no one would be the wiser. Will need work on my chicken pounden skills!

  10. I had the most BOMB chicken from Whole Foods last night, but if I saw this recipe prior to going to their prepared food section, I probably would have tried my hand at it....... But that doesn't mean I won't! I have to thaw some chicken that's in my freezer ASAP! :)

    1. Let me guess: you had a roasted chicken at WF. It's soooo good!

  11. Love this technique and i agree it makes you think you're eating more. Great combo of flavors and love how quick it is to prepare. Great photos as well!

  12. Looks like tons of flavor, love this technique!

  13. Indian flavours... :) That chicken looks so heavenly, oh my!

  14. Indian food is just the best! Looks very tasty.

  15. This looks awesome Mike, and I bet the increased surface area of the chicken would fool my husband into thinking he's actually getting more protein, teehee. Love the spice combo too! :-)

  16. That is a stunning looking piece of chicken. You are so right, chicken breast can be cooked in so many ways and it's so good.

  17. Mike, I am intrigued by your spice blend (and, of course, the gorgeous color of that perfectly-pounded chicken breast) - I am a huge fan of a rather famous cook (who hails from lovely Bavaria) who is a huge supporter of adding as many spices to our daily diets (healing properties), there is a whole philosophy behind mixing the spices...I digress here but I do love spices and your mix sounds oh, so delicious! Fabulous recipe, great technique and wonderful pictures!
    Have a great weekend,

  18. 1) I'm a huge Marco Canora fan. Have you been to his resto "Hearth" in the East Village? Hands down one of my fave restaurants in the city.
    2) Genius that you can cook in 2 min and keep it moist. And loving these flavors!
    3) So right about it looking bigger on the plate... GREAT tip
    4) #wolfpackeats