I came across poussins or spring chickens while we were at Fallon & Byrne a few days ago and could not resist the temptation to purchase a couple of them. I’ve never seen poussins anywhere else in the city, not even at specialist butchers where usually you always have to place an order in advance if you want anything other than the usual fare that’s available.
The next question was – what do I do with them? I looked up a few recipes for roasting them until a brainwave hit me and I thought why not use a tandoori marinade that I usually use for chicken legs and thighs and then roast them in the oven.
The result is nice and moist chicken with a crunchy skin that’s delicious with naan or rice along with dal or other curries on the side 🙂
1-2 poussins depending on how many people you’re making it for. Since they’re really small chickens, one poussin for one serving is a good measure.
For the marinade –
Thick yoghurt such as Greek yoghurt – 4-5 tablespoons – in original tandoori recipes, you’ll see that they suggest hanging the yoghurt in a muslin cloth to let the extra moisture drain out. Using thick yoghurt instead is my short cut 😉
Mustard oil – 5-6 tablespoons – mustard oil is commonly available in all Asian shops here in Dublin. Although you may substitute it with vegetable or sunflower oil, I’d highly recommend getting hold of it if possible as it adds a certain unique pungency to the marinade. It’ll also come in handy if you’re trying out a fish curry from East India (Bengal) where mustard oil is used extensively in cooking.
Juice of one lemon
Chilli powder – 1 teaspoon
Garam masala powder – 1 teaspoon
Ginger and garlic paste – 1 teaspoon – you may also use fresh ginger and garlic instead
Salt and pepper to season
Mix all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add the chicken to the bowl and coat it evenly with the marinade. The longer you can leave the meat to marinate, the better. When I have the time, I usually leave this overnight in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Transfer the chicken with its marinade sauce to a roasting dish or tray. Place the tray in the oven and let it cook for roughly an hour. You may turn up the heat towards the last 15 minutes or so to brown up the skin.
Remove from the oven once you’re sure it’s cooked. The best way to check, as always, is to pierce the thickest part of the meat and see if the juices run clear to indicate that it’s done. Let it rest for a few minutes.
Serve garnished with coriander leaves (something I fell short of the day I made this). It’s also common in India to serve this with rings of onion sprinkled with a pinch of salt and fresh lemon juice.
Enjoy with warm naan bread or rice 🙂