Bengali roast chicken is a dish that can be found in any Bengali home during special dinner parties or occasions. It’s so delicious and made with simple ingredients.
The ingredients in Bengali roast chicken and chicken curries are similar-but the main difference is roast chicken is fried while curry is simmered in a brothy sauce. Also, roast chicken has powdered milk!
Like chicken curry, chicken roast is made with onions, garlic, ginger, turmeric, red chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, and (optional) garam masala powder or curry powder. Both also use the same whole spices: cinnamon stick, bay leaves, and cardamoms.
To start, prep the chicken. Skinless, bone in chicken legs with thighs attached are traditional. I used skin on chicken this time but I prefer skinless. Make deep cuts in the meat till it reaches the bone. Then sprinkle in all the spices with a little oil and massage into the meat. Cover and marinate for a few hours or in the fridge overnight.
Next, fry the chicken. Heat up oil in a pan on high heat and fry chicken pieces in batches until browned. You don’t have to cook the chicken all the way because it will finish cooking in the gravy.
While cutting onions, heat up oil in a pan and add whole spices. Let the flavors infuse into the oil to flavor the entire dish.
In the meantime slice up a massive amount of onions. Seriously-roast chicken uses a ton of onions! You might think you have enough…then cut some more. Now add onions into the pot with the whole spices, mix and cook on low heat until completely caramelized-this takes about half on hour.
Then add garlic, ginger, spices, powdered milk, and tomato and cook some more. Once the onion mixture is ready add in your pan fried chicken and mix well.
Next, pop it in the oven at 350° and roast for 30-45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Finally, top with fresh cilantro.
Serve your Bengali roast chicken with freshly cooked basmati rice, chopped cucumbers or a tomato cucumber salad, and enjoy!
For 8 servings
- 1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil, divided
- 8 skinless, bone in chicken leg and thigh
- Whole spices: 1 cinnamon stick, 1 bay leaf, 4-5 cardamom pods
- 1 tsp turmeric, divided
- 1 tsp red chili powder, divided
- 1 tsp cumin, divided
- 1 tsp coriander, divided
- 1 tsp garam masala or curry powder, divided
- Salt to taste
- 4 tbsp garlic paste, divided
- 1 tbsp ginger paste, divided
- 2-3 large onions, sliced
- 1/4 cup powdered milk
- 2 Roma tomatoes, cut into quarters or any kind of cut tomato
- Fresh cilantro to garnish
1. Make 2-3 deep cuts into chicken legs
2. Divide all the spices in half and add to chicken along with 2 tbsp garlic paste, 1/2 tbsp ginger paste, and 2 tbsp oil. Massage into chicken and let marinate
3. Add 2 tbsp oil to a pan over high heat and fry chicken for five minutes on one side then five minutes on the other or until browned
4. In another pan, heat up 1/4 cup oil and add whole spices. Fry for a minute before adding all the sliced onions
5. Cook covered on medium low heat stirring frequently to prevent burning until onions are caramelized-about 30 minutes
6. Once onions are ready, add garlic and ginger paste, salt, and spices. Fry for an additional five minutes then add powdered milk and tomatoes. Cover and cook until tomatoes break down-five to ten minutes
7. Add in fried chicken and mix well. Finish cooked on stovetop or pop into the oven at 350° for 30-45 minutes or until chicken are completely cooked through
8. Top with fresh chopped cilantro and serve over basmati rice with a side salad and enjoy!