Sabut Zafraani Murgh

Baking during the winter season gives a lot of pleasure to me. It provides the warmth needed and enlivens the arid spirit inside us during these dull and cloudy days. I thank my god that I have a conventional oven that I love to use during these icy days.

Carved Roasted Chicken
served along with Roasted Veggies and Lemon slices

Roasting a whole chicken is not as laborious and redoubtable is it is considered to be. I love to roast whole chickens. Roasted chicken is perfect for a party dinner and comforting in the cold weather. Roasted red potatoes and carrots also bring seasonal color and nutrition to the dish.

Tip: To remove the skin of the chicken, use paper towels. Hold the chicken skin with a paper towel and pull it. This way your hand wont get slippery and the task is a piece of cake.

Sabut Zafrani Murgh – Saffron infused Whole chicken

Serves: 4 to 6


For Brine:

2.5 litre fresh water
Salt – 3 tbsp
Sugar – 2 tbsp
Garlic pods – 2, crushed
Bay leaves -2

For Chicken

1 medium whole roasting chicken, skinned/Sabut Murgh (Preferably Fresh)
Black Pepper powder/Kali mirch, used liberally
Sea Salt/Namak, used liberally
Ghee/Butter – 3 tbsp (you can subsbitute it with Canola oil)
1/4 tsp Saffron/Zafraan, pounded
1 tsp Ginger-Garlic/Adrak-Lahsun paste
1/2 tsp Dried thyme
1/2 tsp Dried rosemary
1 large Egg/Anda, hard boiled and peeled
1 large Lemon/Nimbu, cut into two halves (one half used as stuffing and the other half juiced to season the chicken)

For Vegetables

5 Red Potatoes, quartered/Aloo
1 cup baby Carrots/Gajar (you can even use large carrots, peel  and cut them into pieces)
Black Pepper powder/Kali mirch, used liberally
Salt/Namak, used liberally
Ghee/Butter – 3 tbsp (you can subsbitute it with Canola oil)
Dried thyme
Dried rosemary

Stuffed and Seasoned Whole Chicken
on the bed of spiced veggies ready to be roasted


-Remove the giblets and neck from the chicken and discard or freeze for future use.
In a large pot pour 2.5 litres of cold water. Add the remaining ingredients for brine and let the water boil once. Remove from heat and let it cool down completely. Once cooled, place the chicken in the brine, breast side down. Cover and refrigerate overnight if possible or atleast for 2 hours.
-With the rack in the middle position, preheat an oven to 450°F.
-Remove the chicken from the brine. Wash with cool water and pat dry throughly both inside and out with paper towels.
-Pound the saffron with ginger-garlic paste, ghee/butter, lemon juice, salt, black pepper powder, rosemary and thyme in a mortar and pestle until well combined and keep aside.
-Rub the chicken inside and out with the prepared saffron+spices paste and place the boiled egg, a halve of the lemon in the cavity of the chicken.
-Truss the bird. This means binding the legs and wings close to the body of the bird so that the meat is protected during cooking and the finished shape of the roasted bird is pleasing.
-Combine carrots and potatoes in a large oval ceramic baking dish with a rack. Spread into one layer in bottom above the rack. Douse them with ghee/butter and liberally sprinkle with black pepper powder and salt. Carefully place the stuffed chicken, breast side up, on the bed of seasoned vegetables.
-Roast the chicken at 450°F for the first 20 minutes and then lower the oven to 350°F for another 45 minutes or until juices run clear when pricked with knife, and thermometer insterted at thickest part of thigh next to body registers 180°F. Keep basting the chicken with ghee/butter and with the juices collecting below the rack in the baking dish and turn the chicken for even cooking every 20 minutes.
-Once done, remove the chicken from the oven and place in a warm place, loosely covered with aluminium foil and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the trussing thread and carve to serve.

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