Tandoori roasted chicken with spiced pilaf stuffing and maple curry roasted baby carrots

This delish recipe combines two of my favourites – a good roast chook with the amazing flavours and fragrances of Indian spices.
Cook Time 2 hours
Course Main
Servings 4
Gluten Free



  • 1 free-range chicken size 14-16
  • 2 tablespoons good-quality tandoori paste – I used Asian Home Gourmet Mild Indian Tandoori Tikka paste see below if you’d like to make your own
  • 1 tablespoons natural unsweetened yoghurt
  • ¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • ½ lemon

Pilaf stuffing

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 knob butter
  • 2 onions cut into 1cm dice
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • ¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock*
  • 1 thumb ginger unpeeled, thickly sliced

Maple curry roasted baby carrots

  • 600-800 g baby carrots I used a combination of different colours, stalks intact
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon mild curry powder*



  • An hour before cooking, remove chicken from fridge and dry with paper towels. Combine tandoori paste and yoghurt then rub all over chicken skin.
  • Preheat oven to 200°C. To make pilaf, heat oil and butter in a large frying pan (with a lid) on medium heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt and cook for about 8 minutes or until lightly golden. Add garlic and spices and cook for 1 minute. Add rice and stir to combine. Add stock and ginger and bring to boil. As soon as it boils, cover, reduce to the lowest heat and simmer for 12 minutes. Turn off heat and steam, still covered, for a further 10-12 minutes. Do not lift lid at any stage during simmering and steaming.
  • Remove cinnamon quill from pilaf then use a spoon to stuff pilaf into chicken cavity (take care to avoid cross-contamination from raw chicken, so you can serve any leftover pilaf in a bowl). Cross legs and secure with baking string. Tuck in wing tips to prevent them burning. Place, breast-side up, in a large baking dish. Sprinkle with the flaky sea salt and squeeze over the lemon juice.
  • Roast chicken for about 50 minutes, until cooked through and juices run clear when flesh is pierced. Rest for 10-15 minutes before carving. Serve with warmed additional pilaf on the side. This dish goes beautifully with maple curry roasted baby carrots (see below).

Maple curry roasted baby carrots

  • Preheat oven to 220°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  • Slice carrots in half lengthways and arrange on prepared tray. Drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup. Lightly sprinkle with curry powder, season with salt and pepper and toss.
  • Roast for about 25 minutes, tossing once during roasting, until carrots are caramelised around the edges.

Tandoori paste

  • There are some very good-quality Tandoori pastes available in supermarkets now, but if you would like to make your own, here is a recipe:
  • – Mix together 1½ tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, ½ tsp ground chilli, 1½ tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp ground turmeric, 4 minced cloves garlic, 2 Tbsp tomato paste and 2 Tbsp oil.
  • – Makes approximately ¼ cup.
  • *Check label if eating gluten free.


I love the idea of eating this dish for Sunday dinner or when I’ve got friends or family over. It’s familiar yet different enough to really make a statement on the dinner table.
To start, I take a free-range chicken and coat it in tandoori paste. If you’re short on time or spices, buy a good-quality paste to use or if you’re feeling a little adventurous, my homemade tandoori paste recipe is so easy to follow.
Then I stuff it with a gingery, cinnamon spiked pilaf. Pilaf is a dish that involves rice being cooked in spices and broth so it soaks up all the yummy flavours. Don’t let the ingredients list put you off! Once you have stocked up on a range of basic spices, you’ll find yourself using them time and time again to add a healthy shot of flavour to your cooking.
I love serving this dish with maple curry roasted carrots. They’re so sweet and tender, with a delicious injection of savoury flavour from the curry powder.
Serve with a some extra natural yoghurt or whip up a batch of my Mango Mint Raita.
This recipe is from the August/September issue of NADIA magazine.
Photography by: Todd Eyre.