A roasted whole chicken can be a simple, delicious and yet elegant meal. Murgh Masallam is the perfect dish for almost any occasion; from a formal get together among friends or colleagues to a relaxed family supper. This recipe is always a big hit in my house, tender succulent chicken with a crispy golden brown skin is always a winning combination. Try my Indian version of this classic chicken dish; I am sure it will spice up your next meal!
MURGH MASALLAM (Whole Roasted Chicken, Indian style)
1 whole chicken (3-4 pounds), trimmed and prepared (remove any innards)
1½ inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
2-3 large cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander powder
1 tsp ground cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp red chili powder, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
1 small lemon, halved
1 lime, halved
1-2 tbsp oil, vegetable or canola
freshly minced cilantro for garnish
assorted vegetables, trimmed and peeled (such as baby potatoes, carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips…)
Preheat the oven to 375 deg F. Make sure the oven racks are arranged to accommodate your roasting pan and chicken.
Place the chicken in a large well oiled (cooking spray is fine) roasting pan. If you have a roasting rack that will fit inside your roasting pan, you can rest the chicken on top of the rack. If a roasting rack is not available, you can use some vegetables. I find that root vegetables work best, just cut them into equal size pieces. This will elevate the chicken and allow for more even cooking and distribution of heat. Feel free to season your vegetables with a little of the spice mix before rubbing it on the chicken. If you have a roasting rack, you may add the vegetables around the chicken or roast them in a separate pan altogther.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the ginger and garlic with all of the spices (turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin, garam masala, red chili powder, salt and pepper). Mix well and then liberally rub the spice mix all over the chicken. Remember to season the inside of the cavity as well. Thoroughly “massage” the chicken well. Squeeze both the lemon and lime over the chicken and vegetables. Place both the lemon and limes in the chicken’s cavity. Drizzle the oil freely over the entire chicken and also the vegetables. Tuck the chicken wings behind the back and tie the legs together with butcher‘s twine.
Roast the chicken for approximately 1 hour, 30 minutes (basting periodically with the pan juices) or until a thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the thigh reaches between 170-175 deg F and the juices run clear. Transfer to a cutting board and “tent” the chicken loosely with aluminum foil. Let the chicken rest for 10-15 minutes before carving. Garnish with the cilantro leaves and serve along with the pan roasted vegetables.
Instead of stuffing the cavity with lemons or limes, you can stuff it with a fragrant rice preparation like Kashmiri Pulao. Just remember to slightly undercook the rice as it will finish cooking inside the chicken.
You can also make this recipe using a small turkey, duck, Cornish game hens, goose, pheasant….just remember to adjust the cooking times accordingly. Also, remember that the internal cooking temperature to indicate “doneness” may vary as well.