Finding a new chicken recipe always makes me happy. When I first came across this recipe on Kuali.com, it sounded very good and even though the spice list was really long, I knew I had to try it. And I was right, it was a winner. The spices give this chicken dish a really festive feel.
Roast Chicken Ramadan
Out With the Bad
For those who are not familiar with Ramadan (also spelled "Ramadhan"), it’s the name that is given in Malaysia to the Muslim month of fasting. This is a time when Muslims fast to understand what it feels like to be poor and without food, a time when they learn to empathize with those who are needy. It’s not just a fast from food, it’s a fast from all sinful things—fasting from hurtful words, mean thoughts and acts, or from bad habits like smoking.
The Muslims fast from sun up to sun down so, during this month, many Ramadan food bazaars are set up in various locations to cater to those who are breaking their fast in the evenings. All sorts of goodies can be found in these bazaars, including grilled fish, grilled chicken, many different kinds of home-made meat and veggie dishes, and of course, plenty of drinks and snacks to go around.
The bazaars are set up so that during this time, those who are fasting don’t have to take the time to cook themselves. And normally, the breaking of fast is quite a special occasion where special foods that are not normally served at other times of the year will be bought or cooked and consumed.
In With the Good
I think Roast Chicken Ramadan is a perfect fasting month dish. The spice list might seem long but for many of us in Southeast Asia, these are common spices that we have in our pantries. For others, it might take a bit more effort but the little effort will be totally worth it.
If you have a food processor, the work is even easier as you won’t have to pound the ingredients. A quick whiz in the processor and you have your marinade made. And if you’re smart and already bought all the ingredients, you could easily double the marinade ingredients and save one portion in the freezer for the next time (which would then make this dish even easier the second time around). And trust me, there will be a second (and third, and fourth…).
After creating the marinade, cooking it (we Malaysians call it “tumis”), and cooling it, it’s just a matter of smearing the marinade on the chicken and letting it sit overnight in your fridge. The next day, about an hour before you plan to eat, just preheat your oven, set the butterflied chicken into the oven and let it go.
Roast Chicken Ramadan Recipe
by Amy Beh. Taken from Kuali.com
1 chicken (about 1.5kg), wash, butterflied (cut and remove spine and flatten)
1 tsp salt (or a bit more to salt entire chicken)
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
(A) Ground spices (pound or blend ingredients below):
2 Tbsp chilli paste (blend 3-4 red chillies or if your chillies are spicy, as much as you want the heat level to be)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground fennel
1 tsp ground coriander
100g shallots (about 3-4 small, or 2-3 big)
3 cloves garlic
1 stalk lemon grass
1cm piece galangale (if you cannot find this, substitute with more ginger)
1cm piece ginger
Ginger, Galangal, and Pounded Aromatics
3-4 tbsp oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tomato, seeded and finely chopped
Seasoning (I found that this was not really necessary as the chicken was already seasoned, if you do want to add some additional seasoning, I would say include the W sauce and the sugar, but hold back on the salt and chicken bouillon):
1 tsp salt or to taste (optional)
1/2 tsp sugar or to taste
1 tsp chicken stock granules (optional)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1. Rub salt, white pepper and black pepper all over the butterflied chicken both skin-side and bone-side. Leave aside.
2. Heat oil and saute ground spice ingredients (A) until aromatic. Add in chopped onions and tomatoes and fry for three to four more minutes. Add seasoning to taste and mix. Dish up and leave to cool.
3. Spoon sauteed spices over chicken and rub all over. Leave aside in a plastic bag or large bowl to marinate, preferably overnight in the refrigerator.
Seasoned Chicken, Marinated Chicken
4. Put chicken on a rack placed over a tray. Roast at 180°C (350 F) for 25-30 minutes. Turn over at the final 10 minutes. Roast until chicken is cooked, and juices run clear (about 45-60 minutes total).
5. Remove chicken from rack. Chop up chicken into bite-size pieces and serve with rice, or roti.
What comes out after it’s done is a heavenly, moist and flavorful chicken that goes really well with white rice, roti, or just eaten on its own with some cucumbers for contrast. And what makes this dish even better is that the kids can handle the heat (there isn’t very much in it) and they will clamor for more. At least my kids did and that is always a good thing in this house.
So, in this month of holding back from bad things, treat yourself to this very, very good thing. You’ll be glad you did!
I am entering this post in the Muhibbah Malaysian Monday roundup, hosted this month by Suresh of 3 hungry tummies.