If you sometimes get sick of the same old roast chicken, the sticky Thai flavours in this bird will be a welcome change. Even if you don’t like fish sauce, don’t be deterred; all that’s left of that fishy, pungent taste after roasting is a thick, caramelised glaze that’s full of flavour.
1 whole 1.75kg free-range chicken
1 red onion, peeled and chopped into eighths
1/3 cup (80mls) fish sauce
1 whole coriander plant, roughly chopped (including one single root, and all stems and leaves), some leaves reserved for garnish
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 tbsp caster sugar
3 birdseye chillies, finely sliced
juice of ½ lemon
- Heat your oven to 180C (fan-forced). Mix all of the marinade ingredients together, and stir well to dissolve the sugar. Set aside while you prepare the chicken.
Rinse the chicken under running water and pat it dry inside and out with paper towel.[Update: Recent British NHS guidelines released after this post recommend against washing poultry before cooking.] With kitchen scissors or a heavy knife, cut down either side of the backbone of the chicken and remove the backbone completely. Remove the wishbone if you like, as this will make carving the breast easier after the chicken is cooked. Press down on the breast of the chicken to flatten it. (Discard the backbone or, if you prefer, chop it into large pieces and place the pieces into the roasting tray to add more flavor to the pan juices.)
- Work your fingers under the skin of the breast and thighs. Spoon the marinade over the inside and outside of the chicken, as well as between the skin and meat, getting as much of the solid ingredients in the marinade under the skin as you can. Place the onion in a roasting tray and lay the chicken skin-side up on top of the onion.
- Roast for 45 minutes, basting every 15 minutes. Remove the chicken when the skin is dark and caramelised (it will be darker than a normal roast chicken from the caramelised sugars), and the meat is only just cooked through. Rest the chicken in a warm place for at least 10 minutes.
- While the chicken is resting, pour the juices from the pan into a jug, leave the onions in the tray. Skim off any liquid fat. Pour the juices back into the roasting pan with the onions and place the pan over heat. Stir the pan juices together with the onions and scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Spoon the sauce and onions over the chicken, scatter with the reserved coriander leaves and serve.
This recipe appears in my second cookbook, Asian After Work.