Healthy Indian Cooking Cookbook By Monisha Bharadwaj

Enliven chicken breasts with whole Indian spices

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Skinless chicken breasts can be a blank slate for myriad flavors, but they can also be painfully bland.

Author Monisha Bharadwaj, whose new book, Healthy Indian Cooking ($17), contains more than 100 vibrant recipes, proves she has a deft touch with poultry in her fragrant Chicken in Whole Spices (see the recipe).

Canvassing the Indian spice repertoire, Bharadwaj sizzles bay leaves, cardamom pods, cinnamon, caraway seeds, cloves and chiles in a large skillet, in which she then browns the chicken breasts. A handful of garlic, ginger, pearl onions, cilantro, mint and turmeric add another layer of flavor, and a final addition of yogurt thickens the sauce and cools the spices' intensity.

The best part of the recipe? With its minimal prep work, it takes only 30 minutes to make, but tastes like a long-simmered dish.

Talk about spicing things up.