Circassian Chicken

Spicy and oriental, Circassian chicken is a good dish to cook in a chicken brick. Remember to start the marinade the day before the dish is required as the flavours need a long while to penetrate the meat. Serve with plain boiled rice.


serves 4
1 3/4 - 2 kg (3 1/2 - 4 lb) roasting chicken, skinned, giblets removed
3 x 141 g (5 oz) cartons natural unsweetened yogurt
1 garlic clove, crushed with 1/2 tsp salt
2 pieces fresh root ginger, finely chopped, or 1 tsp ground ginger
2 dried chilis, crushed, or 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
2 tbsp freshly chopped mint
1 tbsp ground cumin seeds
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 bunch of watercress to garnish


1. Wash the chicken and dry thoroughly with a clean tea-towel or kitchen paper. Score the chicken flesh with a very sharp knife and put in a large mixing bowl.

2. Mix the remaining ingredients together, using only two cartons of yogurt, and pour over the chicken. Leave to marinate for 8 hours or overnight in the refrigerator, spooning the marinade over the chicken from time to time.

3. Transfer to a chicken brick lined with oiled greaseproof paper, pouring the marinade over the bird. Close the brick and place in a cold oven.

4. Turn the oven to hot (220°C/425°F or Gas Mark 7) and roast for 1 1/2 hours, without opening the oven.

5. Transfer the chicken to a hot serving platter. Scrape the juices from the brick and pour into a sauceboat to serve separately; stir in the remaining yogurt.

6. Garnish the serving platter with sprigs of watercress and serve immediately.

NOTE: if a chicken brick is not available, the chicken can be roasted in a covered casserole dish in a fairly hot oven (190°C/375°F or Gas Mark 5) for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the chicken is tender and the juices run clear when it is pierced with a skewer. Baste occasionally with the marinade during the cooking time.

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