Jaffrey’s Chicken in Alfoil…the Unauthorised Version

So you start off with this utterly unprepossessing name and you end up with this thing that – well, words do fail. It’s heaven. Have with her everyday rice, nothing else.

I make this entirely unauthorised alteration. After I’ve skinned the chicken I fry the skin until the fat is rendered and the skin is crisp. Eat. Then I use the chicken fat with the oil for cooking the paste. I rather think an Indian cook would frown at that, but I can’t resist.

Most recently, instead of one large chicken I’ve tried this with small chickens, each one individually wrapped – it’s a nice serving idea, but it was by no means an unqualified success. They were on the dry side, somehow liquid seemed to be missing. Not that the chickens themselves were dry, but the paste usually turns into a sauce and this time it stayed a bit – well, pasty.

For the marinade:

2.5 cm (1 inch) cube of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled, coarsely chopped
6 Tbs. yoghurt
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 and 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. cayenne
Freshly ground black pepper

You will also need:

One 1.5 kg (3.5 lb) chicken
8 oz (225g) onions
4 cloves garlic peeled
4 cm (1.5 inch) cube fresh ginger,peeled and coarsely chopped.
25g(1oz) blanched, slivered almonds
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
.5 tsp. ground turmeric
1 Tbs. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1.5 tsp. salt
8 Tbs. veg oil
2 Tbs lemon juice
.5 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
.5 tsp. garam masala

Make the marinade:

Put the ginger,garlic and 3 Tbs of yoghurt into either food processor or blender. Blend, until you have a paste. Add the turmeric, salt, cayenne and black pepper. Blend for a second to mix. Empty into a bowl. (Do not wash out the food processor or blender yet) Add the remaining 3 Tbs. of the yoghurt to the marinade and mix in.

Skin as much of the chicken as is practicable.

Put the chicken breast up, in a large bowl or on a platter and rub, inside and out with the marinade. Set aside unrefrigerated for 2 hours or in the fridge for longer.

The spice paste:

Put the onions, garlic, ginger and almonds in the blender or processor. Blend, pushing down with a spatula occasionaly until you have a paste. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, paprika, cayenne and salt. Blend again.

Put the oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the paste. Fry stirring for 8 – 9 minutes. Add the lemon juice, black pepper and garam masala. mix. Turn off the heat and let this cool.

Pre heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4.

Spread out a large sheet of aluminium foil, large enough to enclose the chicken. Put the chicken, breast up, in the centre of the foil and spread the fried spice mix over it (bottom too). Bring the ends of the foil towards the centre to form a tight packet. All the ‘seams’ should be 5 cm (2 inches) above the floor of the packet. This way any juices it creates stay in the bottom of the foil when you open it.

Put this whole thing in a baking tray and bake for 1.5 hours or until chicken is tender.

Serve. This will get you anything.

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5 thoughts on “Jaffrey’s Chicken in Alfoil…the Unauthorised Version

  1. made this for my 2 girls (i am on crazy vegan challenge for next couple of months) – bit of an effort – damn tumeric gets everywhere – they reported somewhat dry breasts – i suspect i had a too hot oven and a smaller than suggested chook – strangely though i caught both of them picking through the dodgy looking bits at the bottom of the alfoil some hour or so after i reasonably concluded the whole chicken had been eaten

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    • Vegan? Wash your mouth out with soap and water sir! If that isn’t against your diet, that is. I had to cook for vegans here for a while, it is so boring that even they gave up after a while and became vegetarian again. They spent all their time trying to do things like find vegan products that are pretend cheese etc.

      As for the chicken, yes, I think like anything you roast in the oven, size counts. The smaller the worse the result. But I also think I – and perhaps you? – made the paste a little on the dry side when I tried cooking small birds in individual parcels. It needs to have a generous amount of oil, you have to make up for that skin that isn’t there.

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    • When you cook Indian, the oil quanitities they use are vital to cook both onions (etc) correctly and to cook the dry spices properly too. You can also take oil out afterwards if you think it is too much, but you mustn’t skimp on it during the cooking process.

      This is a cardinal rule.

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