Festive Food Part 3
Tandoori Ch-T-Turkey Anyone?
Welcome to part three of my festive food blogs. This week I want to talk about the festival that many of us look forward all year - yes, Christmas. I know that we are living in unprecedented times and the festivities for celebrating Christmas will not be the same this year but at the risk of repeating myself, celebrations are all about festive food and of course family.
For many years I didn’t fully celebrate Christmas, I used to give cards and gifts to my friends that did celebrate but never really put up a tree or made a big fuss, I like my parents before me, would concentrate on our own religious festivals like Eid. Then a couple of decades ago things changed… Allow me to elaborate; when my youngest son Cyrus was about 4 years old, he was a wee bit obsessed with anything 'Christmassy'. He loved making Christmas cards, singing carols and watching the best Christmas movie ever made. No... I don't mean 'It's a Wonderful Life' (which is mine), for him it was 'Home Alone' of course - must be a generational thing.
So, naturally he would look forward to his Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, which I never really used to make. He got quite upset and one day he asked “mum do we as Muslims believe in Jesus?” I said “yes of course we do”, so then he came back with, “we should celebrate Christmas then!.” I couldn’t really argue with his child logic, so I decided to make a big effort and make a big Christmas dinner for all five of us, a big roast turkey as a centrepiece, crispy roast potatoes, honey roast parsnips, fluffy Yorkshire puddings and yes, even sprouts. However, there was one major flaw with my culinary strategy…I don’t like Turkey!!..I find it too dry and I am just not a fan, so I would roast an extra big chicken instead. Not wanting to spoil the illusion of a picture-perfect Christmas Dinner, I told Cyrus it was Turkey. JOB DONE!!...Or so you would think. The rest of the family knew it was chicken but we all had to keep up the pretence, so we spent most of the meal saying "please can you pass the ch-t- turkey!"
Unwittingly, we had set a precedent, so for several years we had to all keep referring to the roast tandoori chicken as turkey for Cyrus's sake. Until one Christmas, Cyrus admitted he had clocked on that it wasn't turkey when he was 8!...What can I say, he was a clued up little boy and is now a very clued up 23 year old who towers me at 6ft 2”… So, there is a height gap, a generation gap but definitely not an emotional gap as Cyrus now realises that the intention behind what we all I did was love – after all, the festive period is all about the love of family and of course food.
Recipe For Tandoori Roast Chicken With Tandoori Roast Potatoes
I like to roast my chicken without the skin but if you like yours with the skin, this recipe will still work beautifully. Also, when you cook your potatoes like this they take on all the lovely flavour of the chicken.
- 1 whole chicken (1.5kg to 1.7Kg)
- 4 or 5 potatoes (cut into quarters)
- 1 large onion sliced
- 6 cloves garlic in their skins
- 1 tbsp plain yoghurt
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp tandoori powder
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 3 tbsp oil or ghee
- 1 tsp salt
- Preheat your oven to 190°C and make sure you chicken is at room temperature, this ensures the meat will be tender when cooked. Now make three slight cuts on the fullest part of each chicken breast.
- Meanwhile make the marinade. In a bowl add the oil, coriander, chilli, tandoori powder, salt, lemon juice and yoghurt. Mix well.
- Place your chicken, potatoes, onions and garlic in a large baking tray. Now rub the marinade into the chicken, and potatoes. Make sure the entire chicken is coated, inside and out. To keep the chicken legs in place, use a cocktail stick and secure them to the breast.
- Place the chicken in the oven tray and cover with cooking foil. Cook for 1 hour with the foil on. Then return to the oven for a further 45-60 minutes, keep basting the chicken and the potatoes in the juices every 10 minutes or so.
- Carve the chicken then serve alongside the potatoes, honey roast parsnips, Yorkshire pudding and yes even sprouts!
You can use the same marinade if you would like to make turkey. Most turkeys are a lot bigger so need a lot more roasting time, so here is a guide for you; Heat your oven to your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4
- 4-5kg – cook 2¼ to 2½ hours
- 5-6kg – cook 2½ to 3 hours
- 6-7kg – cook 3 hours to 3½ hours
- 7-8kg – cook 3½ to 4 hours
About the author
Parveen Ashraf is a passionate foodie, author, TV chef and entrepreneur and newspaper columnist. Her humorous and relatable writing style is always a winner with SaveCo customers and her recipes and blogs are amongst the most viewed pages.