Maharashtrian Chicken Roast
You could use either bone-in or boneless chicken pieces for this dish, it’s totally up to you. Just note that the bone-in chicken will take slightly longer to cook.
MAHARASHTRIAN CHICKEN ROAST
1-1½ lbs of skinless chicken pieces (legs & thighs work well)
1½” piece of ginger
5-6 large garlic cloves
2-3 small green Thai chilies, to taste
1 large onion, finely sliced
½ tsp turmeric (haldi)
½ tsp smoked Spanish paprika
½ tsp ground cumin powder
1 tsp ground coriander powder
1 tsp red chili powder, to taste
1 tbsp kala or goda masala (or you can use garam masala)
salt & pepper, to taste
1 medium tomato, finely diced
6-8 fresh curry leaves
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup coconut milk (or you can use water)
4 tbsp ghee (or you can use butter or oil)
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
Using a small food processor or mini blender, grind together the ginger along with the garlic & green chilies into a fine paste using just a little water as needed to help the process along. Set aside until needed.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, making sure you have an oven rack in the center available for later use. In a large deep oven proof pan on medium high heat, add 2 tbsp of the ghee. When hot, add the onions and sauté until golden brown & caramelized. Halfway through the process (or just when the onions start to brown), add the ginger-garlic-green chili paste. The caramelization process will take some time but it is totally worth it, the depth of flavor is fantastic.
Now add in the spices (turmeric, smoked Spanish paprika, ground cumin powder, ground coriander powder, red chili powder, kala masala, salt & pepper). Mix well to combine and add in the tomatoes, tomato paste and curry leaves. Stir and let cook for a few minutes. Now add the chicken pieces to the pan and mix well to coat them in all the spices & aromatic. Let cook for 4-5 minutes on the stove top and then add the coconut milk (or water). Stir well, drizzle the remaining 2 tbsp of ghee over the top and then carefully transfer the entire pan to the hot oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes for boneless chicken pieces and about 25-30 minutes for bone-in pieces or until the chicken is fully cooked through yet moist & tender. Let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes and then garnish with the cilantro leaves. Serve with warm phulkas & fragrant Basmati rice.
Feel free to add a tbsp or so of peanut butter along with the tomatoes for a delicious “peanutty” taste & flavor.
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