14 March 2013

Masala-marinated Chicken

OK, so it's recipe day today!

This one is a Hairy Bikers original recipe from their Hairy Dieters book. I have to thank my friend Katy who said how excellent it is, so of course I had to try it. But as always I didn't follow the book, so I'm giving you the original recipe with my variations.

First things, first. You really want to start marinading the chicken the day before you want to cook it. As a minimum it should have fours hours marinading.

Masala-marinated Chicken (with minted yoghurt sauce)


For the marinade
6 cardamom pods
2 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp coriander seeds
4 whole cloves
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp ground fenugreek
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp paprika
1-2 tsp hot chilli powder (the more you use, the spicier the dish)
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
I used a mixture of whole and ready ground spices according to what I had to hand
1 tsp flaked sea salt any salt will do!
I added the juice and zest of a lemon
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
40g/1½oz piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated
100g/3½oz low-fat natural yoghurt I used about half a 500g tub of full-fat Greek yoghurt

For the chicken
1.65kg/3lb 8oz chicken I had a 2.2kg bird
1 lime, quartered omitted
freshly ground black pepper
fresh watercress or baby leaf salad, to serve or veg if you prefer

For the minted yoghurt sauce
200g/7oz low-fat natural yoghurt I used the rest of the tub of yoghurt
1 tsp ready-made mint sauce this I replaced with chopped cucumber, onion and garlic

  1. To make the marinade, split the cardamom pods and remove the seeds I used pods as well. Put the cardamom seeds in a dry non-stick frying pan and discard the husks. Add the cumin and coriander seeds, cloves and black peppercorns and place the pan over a medium heat. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring regularly until the spices are lightly toasted — you know they’re ready when you can smell the spicy aroma. I didn't bother toasting the spices, but it doing so may give a better result

  2. Tip the toasted whole spices into a pestle and mortar, or an electric spice grinder, and pound to a fine powder. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the fenugreek, turmeric, paprika, chilli powder, cinnamon powdered spices and salt. Add the garlic, ginger lemon juice & zest and yoghurt, then mix well and leave to stand while you prepare the chicken.

  3. Place the chicken on its breast on a sturdy chopping board and cut carefully either side of the backbone with good scissors or poultry shears. Chuck out the bone keep it and cook it with the rest or use it for chicken stock! and cut off the foot joints and wing tips.

  4. Strip all the skin off the bird I didn't, but it'll be better if you do apart from the ends of the wings (which are easier to remove after cooking). You’ll find this simpler to do if you snip the membrane between the skin and the chicken flesh as you go. Cut off and discard any obvious fat — it will be a creamy white colour. Open out the chicken and place it on the board so the breast side is facing upwards.

  5. Press down heavily with the palms of your hands to break the breastbone and flatten the chicken as evenly as possible. This will help it cook more quickly. Slash the meat with a knife through the thickest parts of the legs and breast. Place the chicken in a shallow non-metallic dish — a lasagne dish is ideal — and tuck in the legs and wings that depends how much you've broken the chicken!.

  6. Spoon over the marinade and really massage it into the chicken on both sides, ensuring that every bit of bird is well coated — get your hands in there and really go for it. Cover the dish with cling film and put the chicken in the fridge to marinate for at least four hours or ideally overnight.

  7. Preheat the oven to 200C 190C with fan. Take the chicken out of the dish and place it on a rack inside a large baking tray, breast-side up. Squeeze over some juice from the lime I didn't and season with ground black pepper and any remaining marinade.

  8. Roast for 1-1¼ hours I found it needed longer than this but I did have a bigger bird until the chicken is lightly browned and cooked throughout, tossing the lime quarters omitted on to the rack for the last 20 minutes to cook alongside the chicken. They’ll be good for squeezing over the meat later. The juices should run clear when the thickest part of one of the thighs is pierced with a skewer. Cover loosely with foil and leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving.

  9. While the chicken is resting, make the sauce. Spoon the yoghurt into a serving bowl and stir in the mint sauce cucumber etc. in my case until thoroughly combined. Transfer the chicken to a plate or wooden board and carve into slices, discarding any skin. Serve with the sauce and some watercress or salad and enjoy!
And yes, it was as good as Katy said it was. In fact we had another serving of it cold for lunch today, when if anything it was even better!

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