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Roast chicken with orange, tamarind & cumin
Photo: Michelle Yip, Plate: Ilham Ceramic Studio
A green pastry brush is basting a whole roast chicken, that is in a cast iron pan with cabbage slices.
Basting the chicken

Two fun facts about our designer Kristy: 1) she is an excellent home cook, 2) she loves Christmas. So when we asked her to develop a recipe for an Asian-inspired centrepiece, she delivered this spectacular bird. Let go of your notions of crispy-skinned roast chicken with disappointingly dry white meat (pro-tip: please turn to fried chicken instead for crispy skin). Here, a deeply flavourful bird is practically guaranteed via dry brining beforehand, roasting the chicken breast-side-down, and constant basting. Hat tip to Helen Rosner for the ‘cabbage-beneath-chicken’ inspiration—the cabbage really does take on a (much more exciting) life of its own as it soaks up the chicken juices.

Roast chicken with orange, tamarind & cumin

by Kristy Voon
Kristy Voon

Two fun facts about our designer Kristy: 1) she is an excellent home cook, 2) she loves Christmas. So when we asked her to develop a recipe for an Asian-inspired centrepiece, she delivered this spectacular bird. Let go of your notions of crispy-skinned roast chicken with disappointingly dry white meat (pro-tip: please turn to fried chicken instead for crispy skin). Here, a deeply flavourful bird is practically guaranteed via dry brining beforehand, roasting the chicken breast-side-down, and constant basting. Hat tip to Helen Rosner for the ‘cabbage-beneath-chicken’ inspiration—the cabbage really does take on a (much more exciting) life of its own as it soaks up the chicken juices.

Servings: 8

Roast chicken with orange, tamarind & cumin
Photo: Michelle Yip, Plate: Ilham Ceramic Studio
A green pastry brush is basting a whole roast chicken, that is in a cast iron pan with cabbage slices.
Basting the chicken

Servings: 8

1 whole chicken, about 1.7kg

 

FOR THE DRY BRINE:

2 tsp cumin seeds

3 tbsp orange zest  (grated from about 3 oranges)

3 tsp salt

3 tsp sugar

1 tsp white pepper

 

FOR THE GLAZE:

3 tbsp ready-made tamarind paste OR 100 ml freshly prepared tamarind juice

125 ml orange juice

5 tbsp honey

3 tbsp fish sauce

3 cloves garlic, smashed

Salt to taste (optional)

 

FOR THE ROAST:

½ head cabbage, cut into 1″ slices

1 tbsp neutral oil

Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

BRINE THE CHICKEN:

  1. Toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan over medium heat for about 1-2 minutes. Toss frequently to make sure that the spice does not burn. Remove from heat when a strong aroma of cumin hits the air and the seeds have turned a shade darker. Grind using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
  2. Rub the orange zest, salt, sugar, and white pepper together, then mix with the ground toasted cumin.
  3. Make sure there is enough room in your fridge for a whole chicken to rest. Then, pat the skin of the chicken dry with kitchen paper. Place on a rack set on a sheet tray or large plate.
  4. Sprinkle the dry brine mix all over the chicken, patting down to adhere to the skin. Place the chicken in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes, but preferably overnight, or up to 48 hours.

MAKE THE GLAZE:

  1. Pour all the ingredients for the glaze into a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally until thick and glossy. Taste and adjust if necessary with more honey or salt.

ROAST THE CHICKEN:

  1. Remove the chicken from the fridge at least 30 mins before roasting.
  2. Set a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 190°C.
  3. Drizzle a sheet pan or cast iron pan with oil. Arrange the cabbage slices on the pan in a single layer. Season with salt and black pepper. Place the chicken breast-side-down on top of the cabbage slices. Using a pastry brush, brush a layer of glaze on the chicken, dabbing if necessary to not dislodge the brine residue.
  4. Place the pan in the oven. Baste with a layer of glaze every 10 minutes, making sure to shut the oven door when removing the chicken, so that the temperature of the oven does not drop too dramatically. If the chicken skin is browning too quickly, lower the heat by about 10°C, or turn off the top heating element.
  5. After about 40 minutes, flip the chicken breast-side-up and baste again. Return the chicken to the oven for at least another 10 minutes to get a bit of colour on the skin of the breast side (turn on the top heating element if necessary). Check the temperature of the chicken at the 50-minute mark. Insert a meat thermometer into the thigh area of the chicken, making sure not to hit the bone. The temperature should read at least 65°C to ensure a fully-cooked chicken. If still not up to temperature, continue roasting and check every 5 minutes.
  6. Once the chicken registers 65°C on the thermometer, remove the chicken from the pan onto a separate surface to rest. Return the pan of sliced cabbage to the oven for another 10 minutes until the edges are charred.
  7. Carve the chicken into your preferred parts. Serve with cabbage and the flavourful chicken juices that have collected in the pan.

Tips

  • If you are making this in Europe or North America, where whole chickens are decidedly bigger, scale up the amounts for the brine and the glaze accordingly.
  • This recipe can be used to roast chicken parts as well. Adjust the cooking times as necessary, as chicken parts take a shorter time to cook than a whole chicken. If roasting both white and dark meat, the white meat will also cook more quickly than the dark meat.
  • If you don’t have a meat thermometer, pierce the thickest part of the chicken (usually the thigh) with a fork or knife. If the juices are no longer pink, the chicken is done.

Ingredients

1 whole chicken, about 1.7kg

 

FOR THE DRY BRINE:

2 tsp cumin seeds

3 tbsp orange zest  (grated from about 3 oranges)

3 tsp salt

3 tsp sugar

1 tsp white pepper

 

FOR THE GLAZE:

3 tbsp ready-made tamarind paste OR 100 ml freshly prepared tamarind juice

125 ml orange juice

5 tbsp honey

3 tbsp fish sauce

3 cloves garlic, smashed

Salt to taste (optional)

 

FOR THE ROAST:

½ head cabbage, cut into 1″ slices

1 tbsp neutral oil

Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

BRINE THE CHICKEN:

  1. Toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan over medium heat for about 1-2 minutes. Toss frequently to make sure that the spice does not burn. Remove from heat when a strong aroma of cumin hits the air and the seeds have turned a shade darker. Grind using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
  2. Rub the orange zest, salt, sugar, and white pepper together, then mix with the ground toasted cumin.
  3. Make sure there is enough room in your fridge for a whole chicken to rest. Then, pat the skin of the chicken dry with kitchen paper. Place on a rack set on a sheet tray or large plate.
  4. Sprinkle the dry brine mix all over the chicken, patting down to adhere to the skin. Place the chicken in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes, but preferably overnight, or up to 48 hours.

MAKE THE GLAZE:

  1. Pour all the ingredients for the glaze into a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally until thick and glossy. Taste and adjust if necessary with more honey or salt.

ROAST THE CHICKEN:

  1. Remove the chicken from the fridge at least 30 mins before roasting.
  2. Set a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 190°C.
  3. Drizzle a sheet pan or cast iron pan with oil. Arrange the cabbage slices on the pan in a single layer. Season with salt and black pepper. Place the chicken breast-side-down on top of the cabbage slices. Using a pastry brush, brush a layer of glaze on the chicken, dabbing if necessary to not dislodge the brine residue.
  4. Place the pan in the oven. Baste with a layer of glaze every 10 minutes, making sure to shut the oven door when removing the chicken, so that the temperature of the oven does not drop too dramatically. If the chicken skin is browning too quickly, lower the heat by about 10°C, or turn off the top heating element.
  5. After about 40 minutes, flip the chicken breast-side-up and baste again. Return the chicken to the oven for at least another 10 minutes to get a bit of colour on the skin of the breast side (turn on the top heating element if necessary). Check the temperature of the chicken at the 50-minute mark. Insert a meat thermometer into the thigh area of the chicken, making sure not to hit the bone. The temperature should read at least 65°C to ensure a fully-cooked chicken. If still not up to temperature, continue roasting and check every 5 minutes.
  6. Once the chicken registers 65°C on the thermometer, remove the chicken from the pan onto a separate surface to rest. Return the pan of sliced cabbage to the oven for another 10 minutes until the edges are charred.
  7. Carve the chicken into your preferred parts. Serve with cabbage and the flavourful chicken juices that have collected in the pan.

Tips

  • If you are making this in Europe or North America, where whole chickens are decidedly bigger, scale up the amounts for the brine and the glaze accordingly.
  • This recipe can be used to roast chicken parts as well. Adjust the cooking times as necessary, as chicken parts take a shorter time to cook than a whole chicken. If roasting both white and dark meat, the white meat will also cook more quickly than the dark meat.
  • If you don’t have a meat thermometer, pierce the thickest part of the chicken (usually the thigh) with a fork or knife. If the juices are no longer pink, the chicken is done.

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