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Spicy roast chicken in banana leaves

In this recipe, the chicken is wrapped in banana leaves before it is roasted. This creates a distinctive aroma and flavour. Enclosing it in banana leaves also keeps the chicken moist and succulent while it cooks. For a special occasion, serve it with plain pulao.


Spicy roast chicken in banana leaves
Spicy roast chicken in banana leaves
2 kg (4 lb 8 oz) chicken
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon oil
2 large onions, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4 cm (1½ inch) piece of ginger, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons ground almonds
½ teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons garam masala
3 coriander (cilantro) roots, chopped
4 tablespoons chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
3–4 young banana leaves


1. TRIM off any excess fat from the chicken. Pat the chicken completely dry with paper towels and prick all over with a skewer so the marinade can penetrate the flesh. Rub the lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of salt all over the skin and inside the cavity of the chicken.

2. HEAT the oil in a heavy-based frying pan over low heat, add the onion and cook until the onion starts to brown. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes, or until soft. Add the almonds, chilli powder, turmeric and garam masala and cook for 1 minute. Allow the onion mixture to cool completely.

3. PLACE the cooled mixture in a food processor or a pestle and mortar, along with the coriander roots and leaves. Grind to a smooth paste and rub the paste thoroughly all over the chicken and inside the cavity. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.

4. PREHEAT the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Soften the banana leaves by dipping them into a pan of very hot water. Wipe the pieces dry as they become pliant. Tie the legs of the chicken together to keep them in place.

5. WRAP the chicken in the banana leaves, making sure that it is well covered. Tie a piece of kitchen string around the chicken like a parcel. If you can't buy banana leaves, wrap the chicken in a large sheet of foil instead. Place the chicken in a roasting tin and bake for 1½ hours. Unwrap the banana leaves or the foil from around the top of the chicken, baste the chicken with some of the juices and return it to the oven for 10 minutes, or until well browned. Check that the chicken is cooked by pulling away one leg—the juices should run clear. Rest the chicken for 10 minutes before carving.

Main ingredient:
Chicken, Banana
Main-course, Dinner


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