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Jaffna Roast Chicken


Spice mix:

½ tsp fenugreek
½ tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp black peppercorns
½ tsp coriander seeds
2 cloves

1 chicken, weighing around 2kg
½ nutmeg, grated
5 cardamom pods, bashed with the flat of a knife
½ cinnamon stick
2 tsp tomato paste
1 thumb ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 roots turmeric, grated (or 1 tsp ground turmeric)
1 small bunch curry leaves, picked (or 2 tablespoons dried curry leaves)
½ heaped tsp chilli powder
200ml coconut milk
150ml water
1 tbsp fine salt

Pre-heat the oven to 170.

  • Toast all the spices for the spice mix in a dry pan. Once it smells aromatic, remove from the heat and grind to a powder.
  • Mix the spice mix powder with the rest of the ingredients, except the chicken.
  • Smother the chicken in the mixture and then place breast side down in a baking tray that is relatively snug. Pour over all the mix.
  • Roast for 45 minutes. At this point, flip the chicken over. If the liquid level is running low, then top this up with a little extra water.
  • Roast for a further 45 minutes. Turn the heat up to 180 and roast for a final 10 minutes.

This can be served with any number of things – flatbreads, rice dhal, and a zingy salad are all good bets.