Poached, chilled chicken breast is a protein-packed blank canvas that’s primed to take on just about any palette of flavor and texture you can conjure.

This chicken salad recipe makes the most of that invitation. Its dressing, inspired by a tandoori marinade, is spiked with big, bold flavors: garlic, ginger, coriander, turmeric, cumin, salt and both black and cayenne peppers. The spices are forward and exciting, but they work harmoniously without being overwhelming. Plus, they impart not only flavor, but also color and texture to the dish.

TANDOORI-SPICED CHICKEN SALAD

Makes 4 servings

Serve over lettuce with lemon wedges, or with crusty bread.

The chicken needs to be poached, drained and refrigerated for at least 30 minutes, and up to 3 days, in advance. If you’re making the chicken salad in advance, wait to add the cilantro until just before serving.

1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to an even ½-inch thickness

2 cups no-salt-added chicken broth

Water, as needed

1 teaspoon cumin seed (may substitute ½ teaspoon ground cumin)

1 small clove garlic

¼ teaspoon salt, or more as needed

½ cup plain low-fat yogurt (not Greek style)

2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon peeled, finely grated fresh ginger root

½ teaspoon ground coriander

¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

½ English (seedless) cucumber, seeded, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch slices

⅓ cup fresh cilantro leaves

Arrange the pounded chicken breast pieces in a single layer in a large skillet; it’s OK if the pieces overlap slightly. Add the broth and enough water to cover by about an inch. Cover and bring just to a boil over medium-high heat, then immediately remove from the heat; let the chicken sit in the liquid, covered, for about 10 minutes or until it is just cooked through.

Transfer the chicken to a container with a tight-fitting lid, discarding the liquid. Cool, then cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (and up to 3 days).

Toast the cumin seed in a small, dry skillet over medium heat; cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, just until fragrant and lightly browned. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and crush the seeds a bit; or transfer to a cutting board and use the flat side of a chef’s knife to do the crushing.

Mince the garlic on a cutting board, then sprinkle with the salt. Use the flat side of a chef’s knife to reduce the mixture into a pastelike consistency.

Whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Add the ginger, coriander, turmeric, black pepper, the crushed cumin seed and garlic-salt paste, stirring to form a smooth dressing. Taste, and add the cayenne pepper, if using.

Cut the chicken into bite-size chunks and place in a mixing bowl, along with the cucumber and cilantro. (See the headnote above, regarding the cilantro.) Pour the dressing over and toss to coat. Taste, and season lightly with salt, as needed.

Serve chilled, or at a cool room temperature.