Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Indian Style Whole Masala Roast Chicken

Few things intrigue me more, as someone who loves to cook and loves to learn about food, than Indian cuisine.  As someone who loves to dive into the cuisine of a culture or a nation, I am most fascinated by the regionalization of cuisine.  When I first started cooking, I focused on Italy, and I spent a lot of time learning about northern Italian cooking and southern Italian cooking.  Then I started to focus upon the cooking of particular provinces, such as Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany and Abruzzo.  The focus -- from general to regional -- was fascinating to me.  

In many ways, India is a lot like Italy.  There is northern Indian food and southern Indian food.  But, then there are the regions.  From Punjab to Rajastan to Goa to Kerala (and everywhere in between), there is a wide variety of regional Indian cuisine.  I have made some dishes from some of these regions, like Goa and Kerala, but I have only scratched the surface.  Much more is to come.  

But, for now, a general Indian dish.  I say that because whenever I see a recipe that has a title of _______-style, I know that it is a dish inspired by, but may not actually constitute part of, a country's established cuisine.  That is not necessarily a bad thing, there are very many -style dishes that are very delicious.  (I have made quite a few -style dishes, and, hopefully, they are good).  So, when I saw an Indian Style Whole Masala Roast Chicken recipe, I decided that I had to make it. 

Masalas are spice mixtures.  While one can find masala spice mixtures in stores, the best ones are made at home. Dried whole seeds and pods, lightly toasted, and ground into a fine powder.  Most people don't have the whole seeds, but you can still make your own masala from ground spices, it will just not be as good.  

In any event, the masala for this recipe is very simple. Kashmiri red chile pepper, "pepper powder" and cumin. I wasn't quite sure what "pepper powder" was supposed to be, so I just used more Kashmiri peppers (which you can get from your local Indian food market). This masala was very simple and it worked for this recipe.  In the future, I may try some different masalas to see how they work with a whole roasted chicken. 

Recipe from My Food Story
Serves 4-6

1 whole chicken (about 2 1/4 pounds)
2 1/2 tablespoons Kashmiri red chile powder
1 1/2 tablespoons ginger paste
1 tablespoon garlic paste
1/2 tablespoon pepper powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar
4 tablespoons of butter
Salt, to taste
3-4 potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 onions, quartered
3 cloves garlic

1.  Prepare the chicken.  Wash the chicken and pat dry.  Mix together the chile powder, ginger, garlic paste, pepper, cumin, honey, vinegar, butter and salt into a smooth paste.  Apply the chile paste all over the chicken, into the crevices and under the skin wherever there are gaps  If you have extra marinade remaining, you can use it to brush the chicken while it cooks. Cover and marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours or overnight.

2.  Roast the chicken.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, Use an oven proof baking dish and add potatoes, onions garlic and lemon slices to the bottom.  Bake for 75 to 90 minutes.  Keep brushing the chicken with the fat and gravy from the pan every thirty minutes or so.  After 1 hour, cover the chicken with oil to avoid the breast from drying out.  Once cooked, cover with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes.  

3.  Finish the dish. Serve the chicken with all the veggies at the bottom of the pan.


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