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Spicy stuffed chicken

A chicken relieved of all of its bones becomes a fabulous open envelope of meat to be filled with a tasty stuffing and tied. Easy to carve, moist and succulent.


Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4. Lay the boned chicken skin side down on a board or clean surface and season with salt and pepper.

Toast the cumin and coriander seeds, and the cardamom pods in a large, dry frying pan over a medium-low heat for a minute or so to release their flavours and aroma, then pound with a pestle and mortar to crush. Pick out and discard the bits of pod.

Heat the groundnut oil and butter in a frying pan and fry the onions over a medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes until soft but not browned. Add the garlic, ginger and chillies and cook for a further 5 minutes. Tip into a bowl, add the crushed spices, turmeric, garam masala and chopped coriander and stir well. Add just enough yoghurt to bind everything together to make a paste.

Spread the stuffing evenly over the chicken, then fold the sides over to meet in the middle and fold the loose skin at each end in a little to enclose the stuffing. Overlap the legs and tie them together with kitchen string, but don't cut it. Take the string under the bird, then over and under, pulling it through the loop. Repeat once or twice to tie hoops of string around the bird at intervals. Flip the bird over, take the string in a straight line under and round each hoop of string, then tie it at the feet.

Smear olive oil all over the skin, season well and place the chicken in a roasting tray. Roast in the oven for 1 hour.

Test by inserting a knife or skewer into the middle of the meat. If the juices run clear it is ready; if not, cook for another 5 minutes and test again, until it is cooked. Leave to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

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  • 1 chicken, about 1.8kg, boned
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 8 green cardamom pods
  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 30g butter
  • 2 onions, peeled and finely diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 red chillies, deseeded and finely diced
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • A handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • About 80g plain full-fat yoghurt
  • About 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Chicken & Eggs Handbook

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