Curried Spatchcocked Chicken

DSC_0110This recipe is a cross between Madhur Jaffrey’s Curried Whole Chicken (“The Ultimate Curry Bible”) and Diana Henry’s Spatchcocked Chicken with Chilli, Garlic etc (“How to eat a Peach”).

1 large chicken (about 1.7kg) and 2 red onions

Marinade ingredients: 5cm piece of fresh ginger; 3 cloves garlic; juice of half a lemon; 2 tablespoons olive oil; 2 green chillis or a scant teaspoon chilli powder; 1 teaspoon each of cumin, coriander and sea salt; some black pepper

To serve: curried roast potatoes, green beans or salad, yoghurt, wedges of lemon, fresh coriander

  1. Plonk the chicken on the surface, breast side down, legs towards you.
  2. Use good scissors to cut through the flesh and bone along either side of the breastbone, and remove it.
  3. Open out the chicken, turn it skin side up, then flatten it by pushing down hard on it with your hand.  Cut off any raggedly bits of flabby skin.
  4. Skoosh together the marinade ingredients in a mini-processor.
  5. Ease up bits of skin and squeeze in teaspoons of marinade between the meat and the skin, all around the breast and legs, wherever you can find a point of entry.  Gently massage the remaining marinade all over the outside and underside of the chicken and leave in the fridge (covered) for any time between 10 minutes and six hours, whatever suits you.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and let the chicken come to room temperature.
  7. Put a few slices of the red onion along the base of a roasting tin and plonk the chicken on top, skin side up.  Roast, uncovered for an hour.  Wiggle a leg or two to see if it’s done and make sure the juices run clear.
  8. Cut into serving pieces (you’ll want to prise the meat away from the spindly little bones if you have young diners) and serve with curried roast potatoes (Liz’s recipe: just roast in the usual way, but mix in a tablespoon or so of curry powder fairly early on), green beans or salad, yoghurt, lemon wedges and fresh coriander.



Chicken Curry with Green Beans


3 onions, in wedges

4 green chillis, halved lengthways

3″ ginger, peeled and grated

6 garlic cloves, bashed

4-6 chicken breasts, in thinnish pieces

tin of tomatoes

a squeeze of lemon juice

a handful of green beans

fresh coriander

spices:  ground coriander, ground cumin, paprika, turmeric, cardamom pods, bay leaves

First make the sauce:

Put one of the onions, half of the tomatoes, the ginger, 3 garlic cloves, the 4 green chillis, a big handful of fresh coriander, stalks and all (reserve about the same amount for sprinkling later), and 4 tablespoons of olive oil into a small pan with a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of turmeric and 200ml water.  Boil together with the lid on for 20 minutes.  Now use a hand blender to blitz this into a sauce.  By all means leave some of the chillis unscathed, if that’s how you like it.

Now, make the curry:

Put 3 tablespoons olive oil into a frying pan.  When it’s hot, add 3 bashed cloves of garlic, 2 bay leaves, and 6 bashed cardamom pods.  Let them sizzle for a few moments, then add the remaining sliced onions.  When they are just starting to burn, add the chicken and a little more salt.  Let the chicken colour for a couple of minutes before turning down the heat and adding a teaspoon each of ground coriander, cumin and paprika.  Stir well, and add the remaining tomatoes, the green beans, the sauce from Stage One and about 100ml of water.  Before popping the lid on, add a squeeze of lemon juice.  Simmer for 30 – 40 minutes.  Stir in some more fresh coriander before serving.  Serve with a drizzle of natural yoghurt and some basmati rice.

Chicken Schnitzel



The perfect TV dinner for Epic Movie Night.

Take two chicken breasts and slice them very thinly (about half a centimetre thick).  Beat an egg in a flattish bowl and add a little salt and pepper.  Whizz up the end slice of a wholemeal loaf (not too fresh) in a mini-processor until it resembles, well, breadcrumbs.  Put the breadcrumbs onto a large plate.

Immerse the chicken slices in the egg, then press them onto the breadcrumbs until they are well covered.

Foam a small knob of butter in a large frying pan and add a tablespoon or two of oil.  Fry the chicken for about 3-4 minutes each side on a hottish hob until golden brown.  If in any doubt about whether they are cooked, cut in half to check, and if you like to be doubly sure, place in a medium oven for a few minutes.

Chicken Curry with Coconut


Even the children like this one.  It tastes better when made the day before and reheated.

3 onions, finely sliced:  Fry them hot until browning in 4 tablespoons of oil.

500-600g chicken breast, cut into slices:  Add to the pan and stir until they start to colour.

3″ ginger plus 5 cloves garlic, skooshed up together in the mini-processor:  Stir this into the chicken mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Turn the heat to medium.

half a teaspoon cinnamon

a teaspoon each of hot chilli powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric and salt:  Stir into the pan and keep stirring for a further minute.

400g tin of chopped tomatoes:  Add this to the pan and let it start bubbling before adding the…

coconut milk (400ml):  Put the lid on the pan and simmer for 40 minutes.

garam marsala:  Sprinkle this through (about half to one teaspoonful) at the end and add some…

fresh coriander and a squeeze of lemon.

Rocket Salad with Rosemary Chicken and Gran Padano


This is a ten minute wonder, inspired by (or rather, totally copied from) my friend, Andrea.

The five minute marinade

You’ll need to chop a few rosemary leaves (we’re talking less than a teaspoonful when chopped) and a small clove of garlic, and rub them into 250g finely sliced chicken breast with the zest of a lemon (don’t use the juice yet – you’ll need it later), a little salt and black pepper and two tablespoons of olive oil.

Leave this to marinate while you drop 100-150g rocket leaves into a bowl and sprinkle through about 30g Gran Padano.  You’ll want about 30g more cheese to add at the end.

Heat up a frying pan to very, very hot, then fry the chicken until just golden (about 5 minutes).  Test your fattest piece to check that it’s cooked through before discarding the oil and tossing the chicken into the salad.

Final flourish

Sprinkle with lemon juice, good olive oil and more cheese.