One of my favourite podcasts to listen to when I just need to switch off, or I’m walking around the block and want to be taken on a little culinary journey, or cooking on a Sunday morning… is Splendid Table. Francis Lam is super interesting to listen to, with a very inoffensive accent and voice (sorry, but sometimes they are just a little gritty! His is smooth as smooth peanut butter), and his podcasts always have a ton of interesting subjects packed into them. They also have recipes ((happy dance)) which are always linked to the website. So whilst contemplating the weekend – albeit hardly relaxing with two little monkeys around my ankles – I stumbled across Diana Henry’s recipe for Turmeric & Ginger chicken, and knew – I just KNEW – I had to try it. Now was the time. It’s chilly outside, the kids are coming down with colds (and we did too, shortly afterwards) so a good kick of anti-inflammatory turmeric and super health-boosting ginger should do the trick. We sadly didn’t have any cucumber for the raita, and FYI the recipe for the date and tamarind chutney is delicious but makes way too much – I’d do at most a quarter of the quantities. But otherwise, it was just fab, and so delicious. A little bit of the spicy past slightly charred when cooking becomes a delicious morsel to snack on as someone carves the juicy chicken and handles you a bowl of chutney. It’s a goodie, going into the regular-recipes pile.
1 1/2-inch piece fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped (or grated if you keep it frozen, like we do)
2 lemongrass stalks, chopped finely
90g ginger root, peeled and chopped (or grated if you keep it frozen, like we do)
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive or canola oil
1 1/2 tsp cracked black peppercorns
1 whole chicken
2 limes, halved
small bunch of basil (or mint if you can’t find basil)
1/2 cup chicken stock (optional)
Combine the turmeric, ginger, lemongrass, salt, vinegar and oil in a blender and give them a blitz to make a paste. Diana Henry, the original author of this recipe, stipulates marinating the chicken overnight in the spicy paste, however we only had a few hours for that and I think it tasted great, so don’t bust a gut! When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 190 degrees c, and cut the limes in half. Stuff them into the cavity along with a bunch of basil.
When the chicken is about 45 minutes off being ready, add in the number of potatoes you’d like – give the tray a good shake to make sure the potatoes get a good covering of oil and spices. Allow to roast with the chicken.
DATE & TAMARIND CHUTNEY
1 1/4 cups tamarind paste
1 cup chopped pitted dates
1 cup jaggery sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
Combine the tamarind, dates and sugar in a saucepan and bring up to a simmer. Allow to simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved and everything has softened up and melded together. AT this stage, you can let it cool for a bit and then put in the blender to blitz. Add the spices in and taste for seasoning. Serve alongside your chicken and potatoes, with a green salad.