Cilantro, lime, garlic, ginger, jalapenos, cinnamon and cloves…
If that ingredient list doesn't get you excited, then I don't know what you're doing here. Now, imagine all those cooking together on a chicken. Smelling that in the oven for an hour and 20 minutes was the best and worst thing ever — tortuously incredible. It was worth the wait though. This Goan-style chicken came from a recipe from chef Floyd Cardoz of Tabla in New York. I had to make it when I read that ingredient list.
Normally I would resent spending $1.50 on 40 grams of cilantro, but a 5-pound chicken only cost US$3, so I can't possibly complain. I recently calculated that I have spent $200 on two months' worth of groceries in Buenos Aires. That includes several items that will last me the rest of my time here. When I don't cook at home, I mostly get street food, which will fill me up for $3 or $4. I love it here.
But back to the chicken, it was incredibly tasty. I ate it with gingered split peas and chapati, an Indian flatbread. A very satisfying dinner with plenty of leftovers.
Goan-Style Roast Chicken
Adapted from Floyd Cardoz of Tabla in NYC. Recipe on PlateOnline.com called for 6 whole chickens.
- Whole chicken
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seed
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 whole clove
- 1 inch of a cinnamon stick
- 1 small bunch of fresh cilantro
- Ginger, 1-inch piece, peeled and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 serrano chili (I used jalapeno)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil (I used sunflower oil)
- 1 lime
- Kosher salt
- Butter, melted as needed for basting chicken
Combine the cumin, pepper, cloves and cinnamon in a spice mill, or with a mortar and pestle, grind to a fine powder.
Grind cilantro, ginger, garlic and chili in a small food processor, or chop and smash with mortar and pestle. (I did both steps by hand, which took some time, but wasn't impossible.) Add oil. Process to a smooth paste.
Rub mixture under and over skin of chicken. Truss, season with a little kosher salt and marinate. (The recipe suggested 24 hours, but I only let it sit about 2 or 3.) Half an hour before cooking, drizzle with juice from half the lime, sprinkle with a little more salt and baste with melted butter. Roast on a rack at 350 degrees F until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. If you don't have a meat thermometer, you should know the bird is done when you slice between the thigh and body, and juices run clear. For me, this took about an hour and 20 minutes.
Serve with a lime wedge. I liked adding more juice to mine. Some fresh cilantro is good too if you enjoy it as much as I do. I ended up making little tacos of sorts with the chapati bread. The chicken is also nice with a raita, or yogurt sauce, which I made to have with the leftovers.
Gingered Split Peas
This is part of a recipe for an Indian-style soup from Food & Wine that I had made before. I liked the flavor of the peas, which were then added to a broth with other vegetables. I decided it would make a nice easy side for the chicken. The curry powder was my addition.
- 1 cup split peas
- 3 cups water
- 1 inch piece of peeled ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
In a medium saucepan, combine the split peas, water, the piece of ginger, salt and curry powder. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, stirring frequently, until the split peas are tender, about 30 minutes. Add more water if necessary to keep the peas from sticking to the pan. If you want the peas softer and closer to a puree, you can add more water and keep cooking.