One of the most common questions I get is “What’s the easiest and most impressive dinner I can make for friends?” My response is always Roasted Chicken. It’s relatable, always delicious and easy to make.  There are so many different varieties — herb roasted, lemon pepper, cajun, the possibilities are left to your imagination.  You can pair it with a salad, or rice, any type of veggie, I guarantee your guests will leave with happy stomachs and a full heart!

There’s something magical about roasted chickens — perhaps it’s the down-to- earth simplicity, the intoxicating flavors and smells, the comfort that seems to spread to the deepest corners of your soul — okay got a little overly dramatic there, but you get the idea.

Today I am taking a page from the big boss, Oprah Winfrey, is there anything that woman can’t do?  In the Oprah Magazine Cookbook I found this beautiful recipe for a Cinnamon Curry Roasted Chicken.  I made a few changes which I will note in parentheses and then came up with two sides that I felt would pair well — Coconut Basmati Rice and some Saffron Garlic Skillet Potatoes.  The flavors of the spices were out of this world, I loved the boldness of the cardamom and the spicy sweetness of the cinnamon.  O-M-G talk about flavor heaven!  The recipe was by Chef Rori Trovato — “It’s a little bit sweet, a litte bit daring.  It’s cinnamon, and it’s probably sitting right there in your pantry.”

Ingredients for Cinnamon Roasted Chicken: (Makes 2-3 servings)

  • 1 (3-4 lb) roasting chicken
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 3 green cardamom pods ( I used 5)
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder (I also added 1/2 Tbsp of Garam Masala powder)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (I also added 1/2 tsp red chili powder)
  • 1 head garlic, cloves separated and unpeeled, plus 6 cloves, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 shallots, unpeeled and quartered
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Ingredients for Tomato Yogurt Sauce:

  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt, room temperature (I used fat-free)
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 3 Tbsp chopped cilantro

***I also brined the chicken, it retains more moisture in the meat.  I have included the ingredients and direction below.

Ingredients for Brine:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 3 green cardamom pods ( I used 5)
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder (I also added 1/2 Tbsp of Garam Masala powder)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (I also added 1/2 tsp red chili powder)
  • 1 head garlic, cloves separated and unpeeled, plus 6 cloves, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 6 cups ice water

Take your spices and ground them in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle.  For the brine, combine the water, salt, sugar, and spices in a large saucepan.  Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.  Reduce to heat to low and simmer for 10 min so the flavors of the herbs can be drawn out. Pour the brine into a deep set large bowl and cool it down with your ice water.  Set aside.

Clean the chicken by rinsing out the cavity and outer skin and place on a clean surface.  Be sure not to contaminate any vegetables or other ingredients, because no one is a fan of salmonella!  Place the chicken in the brine,  make sure it is completely immersed in the brine.  Cover and allow to marinate for at least an hour, preferably overnight.

To make the chicken: Preheat oven to 400F.  Pat chicken dry with paper towels.  Place on a rack in a small roasting pan or baking dish.  Set aside.  In a small frying pan over medium heat, combine cumin seeds, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, and cardamom pods.  Swirl until lightly toasted and fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool slightly; grind using a mortar and pestle (or a coffee grinder).  Mix with curry powder, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes.

Finely chop peeled garlic cloves and combine with ginger and olive oil in a small bowl.  Rub mixture over entire chicken.  Sprinkle with salt, then with spice mixture.  Place unpeeled garlic, shallots, and cinnamon sticks inside chicken cavity.  Tie legs with kitchen string.  Roast 30 minutes before basting with 1/2 cup chicken broth.  Roast 20 minutes more, then baste with remaining 1/2 cup broth.  Continue cooking until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a knife and meat is no longer pink, about 1 hour and 15 minutes total.  Remove from oven and cool slightly.

To make the sauce: Transfer juices from pan into a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat.  Slowly add in the yogurt, stirring constantly with a whisk so yogurt doesn’t curdle.  Remove from heat.  Add most of the tomatoes and cilantro, setting some aside to garnish top of the chicken.  Serve with sauce on side.

Ingredients for Saffron Garlic Skillet Potatoes:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3/4 pound boiling or baking potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of saffron

n a small bowl stir together the butter and the oil along with the saffron and garlic. In a food processor fitted with a 1-millimeter slicing blade or with a mandoline or similar hand-held slicing device, slice the potatoes thin. Working quickly to prevent the potatoes from discoloring, brush the bottom of a 9-inch cast-iron skillet with some of the butter mixture and cover it with a layer of the potato slices, overlapping them. Brush the potatoes with some of the remaining saffron buttermixture and season them with salt and pepper. Layer the remaining potatoes with the remaining saffron butter mixture in the same manner.

eat the mixture over moderately high heat until it begins to sizzle, transfer the skillet to the middle of a preheated 450°F. oven, and bake the galette for 25 minutes, or until it is golden and the potatoes are tender. Cut the galette into wedges or you can cut them with a circle cutter.

Ingredients for Coconut Basmati Rice:

  • 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked Basmati rice

In a saucepan, combine coconut milk, water, sugar, and salt. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in rice. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 18 to 20 minutes, until rice is tender.


  1. Diana says: 26 May ’10 • 15:14:04

    This doesn’t look easy at all, but it sure does look delicious! :)


    • Joy Zhang says: 3 Jun ’10 • 10:59:34

      Hahaha Diana it is! I think it looks intimidating with all the ingredients but the recipes are pretty simple and straight forward — you should give it a try :)

  2. Patrick says: 26 May ’10 • 15:20:34

    oprah is not always right! oprah’s always WRONG!


    • Joy Zhang says: 3 Jun ’10 • 10:59:50

      Good one Patrick, good one.

  3. Elissa says: 26 May ’10 • 16:57:40

    Ohhh yummmm! I will have to try this for a dinner party or something. Question, though: why is this tagged “vegetarian”?


    • Joy Zhang says: 3 Jun ’10 • 11:00:25

      Oh were you not aware that chicken is now vegetarian? hahahaha j/k I marked vegetarian for the side dishes :) You should totally try this for a dinner party and tell me how it goes!

  4. Isabelle says: 26 May ’10 • 17:13:58

    I’m always looking for interesting new ways to do roast chicken, so when I saw your tweet about this recipe the other night, I started drooling right away… and of course, now that I see those scrumptious photos, I’m drooling again. Yum.
    Plus, the skillet potatoes and coconut rice also look amazing, so this post is a win-win-win for me! :)


    • Joy Zhang says: 3 Jun ’10 • 11:01:13

      Thank you Isabelle :) You are so sweet! I love roasting chickens, I also use the carcass to make stock afterwards mmmmm

  5. Lior Lavy says: 26 May ’10 • 19:20:34

    Every time. you just do that with every post.
    Amazing writing. Amazing photography.
    And (in that case) a delicious recipe for me (being a huge chicken fan).
    thanks for this post!


    • Joy Zhang says: 3 Jun ’10 • 11:02:20

      Thank you Lior for your very kind words!! Perhaps one of the times you guys come to Dallas you should come over for a chicken dinner :)

  6. citronetvanille says: 26 May ’10 • 20:19:57

    What an amazing dish! Even though I am not a fan of cinnamon, I can tell the chicken was cooked to perfection, and the yogurt sauce what a fresh addition to it, it tends to cool down all those spices. Beautiful photos too!


    • Joy Zhang says: 3 Jun ’10 • 11:02:59

      Thank you so much Silvia :) you are too kind!!

  7. laura says: 26 May ’10 • 20:39:18

    This sounds completely amazing, Joy! I adore curry and will be coming back to this recipe without a doubt!


    • Joy Zhang says: 3 Jun ’10 • 11:03:31

      :) Thanks Laura, I hope you like it when you try it — it is definitely a very flavorful chicken with all the different spices, the cardamom gives it a really nice touch.

  8. alison says: 27 May ’10 • 00:35:47

    great way to roast a chicken!and beautiful shots!


    • Joy Zhang says: 3 Jun ’10 • 11:03:44

      Thank you alison!

  9. kristy says: 27 May ’10 • 01:21:54

    Just by looking at the spices, I knew the chicken would be amazing! The rice, the chicken and the potatoes have all making me soooo hungry! What a superb complete meal. Thanks, Joy! For sharing such wonderful recipe. Have a nice weekend.
    Cheers, Kristy


    • Joy Zhang says: 3 Jun ’10 • 11:04:40

      Kristy you are always so sweet!! If only we were neighbors so we could feed each other all the time ah? Thanks for the kind words and I hope you have a wonderful weekend too!

  10. lululu says: 27 May ’10 • 08:46:42

    Cinnamon and curry in a chicken! Just an awesome flavorful combination.


    • Joy Zhang says: 3 Jun ’10 • 11:05:00

      Thank you lululu :)

  11. Roti n Rice says: 27 May ’10 • 09:50:03

    Looks like an awesome meal! The chicken must be so flavorful.


    • Joy Zhang says: 3 Jun ’10 • 11:06:19

      Thank you so much Biren :) It was indeed very flavorful with the cinnamon and cardamom, Collin loved it!

  12. duodishes says: 27 May ’10 • 11:12:54

    There are so many amazing flavors going on here! Coconut, curry, cinnamon, saffron! Love them all, especially if they come as one dish.


    • Joy Zhang says: 3 Jun ’10 • 11:06:56

      Thank you!!! Coconut rice is one of my favorite things to eat and it went well with the chicken for sure :)

  13. TripleScoop says: 27 May ’10 • 18:35:55

    Oh my that chicken looks mouthwatering. You got the perfect caramelization on the chicken skin (my favorite part!)


    • Joy Zhang says: 3 Jun ’10 • 11:07:48

      Omg the skin is my favorite part too!!! What can I say, great minds think alike! Thank you for the kind words Bao :)

  14. kristy says: 28 May ’10 • 01:09:36

    Congratulations, Joy! You’re in Today’s top 9! yay…


    • Joy Zhang says: 3 Jun ’10 • 11:11:00

      Aw thank you Kristy!!!!! Youre the best :)

  15. Linn @ Swedish home cooking says: 28 May ’10 • 02:45:19

    Amazing, and what a pretty picture. It makes me hungry :)


    • Joy Zhang says: 3 Jun ’10 • 11:15:15

      The only thing left to do is to eat it! Hee hee thanks for the kind words

  16. sensiblecooking says: 28 May ’10 • 14:58:53

    Very amazing pictures.


    • Joy Zhang says: 3 Jun ’10 • 11:31:46

      Thank you Chandani :)

  17. Nadia says: 28 May ’10 • 15:18:19

    I could dig into that chicken right now. The potatoes and rice look delectable too. You never fail us, Joy. Amazing!


    • Joy Zhang says: 3 Jun ’10 • 11:34:35

      Aw shucks thanks for that Nadia you are always so sweet!!

  18. tastyeatsathome says: 1 Jun ’10 • 10:58:20

    I too love to roast chickens for company – and I share the same amount of passion about roasted chicken. I love these flavors…yum!


    • Joy Zhang says: 3 Jun ’10 • 11:47:01

      Thank you so much Alta! I definitely think Roast chickens are the easiest route and most satisfying when it comes to having people over :)

  19. Mariya says: 23 Jul ’10 • 17:23:10

    Just found your blog and was going through your Indian recipes, I’m actually Indian. Your chicken recipe looks really good, but what I found interesting was the recipe for the potatoes, I have never tried saffron with potatoes but now I am going to try it!


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