My dad celebrated his birthday on Saturday, and my mum had asked us to bring a cake (K. made a rather wonderful tiramisu to feed 16 guests), and a salad. Any self-respecting Estonian birthday party has a large bowl of kartulisalat or potato salad (known as Russian salad in many places, which is a version of the famous Salad Olivier), so I didn't bother to do that, as my mum would make one anyway. Instead I offered to make something more exotic - a mayonnaise and sour cream based salad of rice and curried chicken. The offer was kindly accepted (and the salad quickly eaten, I'm happy to report).
In order to make that salad, however, I needed half of a curry-roasted chicken. That's why we had roasted chicken with curry rub for dinner on Friday night. Easy-peasy..
Note that I didn't baste the chicken with any liquid during roasting, nor is there any fat as such (no oil, no butter) in the marinade - indeed, it's practically a fat-free marinade. Yet the resulting chicken was moist and succulent.
Roasted chicken with curry rub
Adapted from Woman's Day Magazine, April 2000
3-4 pound roasting chicken, giblets (if any) removed
2 Tbsp curry powder
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp freshly ground cumin seeds
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 lemon, halved
4 Tbsp sour cream or plain yogurt
Rinse the chicken under the cold water (Delicious Days had recently an interesting post about the pros and cons of washing meat - check it out!). Dry thoroughly with a kitchen paper, as otherwise the rub won't stick. Place on a roasting tray.
Prepare the curry rub. Mix curry powder, salt, ginger and cumin seeds, add crushed garlic cloves, about 2 Tbsp of lemon juice and the sour cream or yogurt, so you'll get a thick paste.
Put lemon halves into the body cavity of the chicken.
'Massage' the curry paste all over the chicken, so it would be well covered.
Place the roasting tray into the lower part of a pre-heated oven and roast at 180C for about an hour.
To test if the chicken is cooked, insert a sharp knife into the thickest part of the thigh and check that the meat juice runs clear and not pink (if it's still pink, put into the oven for another 10 minutes and test again).
Take the chicken out of the oven, and let it rest for about 10 minutes before carving.
Serve with rice and cooked green vegetables.