Sunday, January 18, 2015

Indian Spiced Roast Chicken




This roast chicken dish is given its Indian spiced nutty flavor through a delicious spice paste made with onions, garlic, ginger, almonds, turmeric, garam masala, chili powder and cilantro.  The paste can be quickly made and rubbed onto the surface of the chicken.  The chicken is then wrapped in banana leaves to marinate, then roasted to perfection.   The chicken will need a few hours to marinate and a couple hours to roast.  However, the entire dish is very easy to make since most of the cooking is done in the oven.

The chicken can be served in its juices and served with a side of steamed basmati rice.

Tip: Fresh or frozen banana leaves or plantain leaves can be used for this recipe.  Fresh leaves may require some soaking in warm water to make them easier when wrapping the chicken.   If banana or plantain leaves are not available, parchment paper can be used in its place.

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 4 to 6.5 hours (includes 4-6 hours of marination time)
Cooking Time: 2 hours
Special Ingredients: Banana Leaves or Plantain Leaves can be fresh or frozen.  Banana or Plantain leaves can usually be found in Asian or African food markets.  Frozen leaves are also available online.  Garam Masala is a spice blend also available in asian food markets -- or you can make your own using this recipe.

Ingredients:
4-5lb chicken
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 large yellow onions quartered
6 garlic cloves crushed
1.5 inch ginger roughly chopped
1/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons garam masala
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves
3-4 banana or plantain leaves or parchment paper

Using a large fork puncture the chicken all over (breast, thighs, legs).  Combine the lemon juice with salt and rub the salted juice all over the chicken's skin and pour some inside the chicken's cavity.  Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet.  Add the onions and cook until the onions are soft (5 minutes).  Add the garlic and ginger to the pan and cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in the ground almonds, chili powder, turmeric and garam masala and cook for an additional 1 minute.  Remove from heat and let the cool for 10 minutes.

Place the cooled spiced onions in a food processor or blender along with the cilantro leaves.  Process the mixture to a smooth paste (2 minutes).  Rub a 1/2 cup of the paste all over the surface of the chicken and stuff the cavity with any remaining paste.  Tie the chicken legs together with poultry string.  Wrap the chicken in banana or plantain leaves (a double layer of parchment paper can be used as a substitute if leaves are unavailable).   Tie the leaves with poultry string to secure the wrapped chicken.  Refrigerate and let marinate for 4-6 hours (or overnight) before roasting.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place the wrapped chicken in a deep baking pan and roast in the oven for 100 minutes.   Remove chicken from oven.  Unwrap leaves or parchment paper and return the chicken to the oven to roast for another 10-15 minutes to brown the skin.   Remove chicken from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes.  The juices at the bottom of the leaves can be  poured into a small bowl and served with the chicken.

Serve the chicken with a side of steamed basmati rice and enjoy.

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