This chicken would be lovely served with roast potatoes, rice or griddled flatbreads, salad and minted yogurt. Just a quick note on the red food colouring –the supermarket ones are no longer very strong, but sugarpaste colours, which are specialist cake-making colours, are much better.
100g full-fat natural yogurt
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam marsala (find it with the other spices in the supermarket)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp medium or hot chilli powder
2.5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
¼–½ tsp red food colouring (optional) (see intro)
1.8kg whole chicken
Flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Mix the yogurt, lemon juice, spices, ginger, garlic and food colouring, if using, in a large, deep bowl. Using a sharp knife, carefully slash the chicken a few times through the thickest parts of the breast and legs. Holding the chicken over the bowl, slather the marinade all over the breasts and legs.
Then place it, breast-side down, into the bowl, cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour, but up to 6 preferably. When ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 200 ° C, (fan 180 ° C), 400 ° F, Gas Mark 6. Take the chicken out of the marinade and place it, breast-side up, in a roasting tin. Smear any marinade remaining in the bowl over the chicken, season with salt and pepper and cover loosely with tin foil.
The chicken doesn’t look pretty at this point, but don’t worry, it will be amazing once roasted! Roast in the oven for 1 ½ hours, basting every so often and removing the foil after an hour. Once the chicken has had its time, remove it from the oven and test to see if it is cooked by inserting a small sharp knife in to the thickest part of the bird.
I do it around the groin area of the chicken and then press down a bit –the juices should run clear. If the juices are not running clear, then return to the oven, testing it again every 5 minutes or so, until fully cooked. Once cooked, cover with tin foil and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
This will allow the chicken to become more juicy and the temperature in the bird to even out. Once it has rested, remove the tin foil and serve with roast potatoes, rice or griddled flatbreads, salad and minted yogurt.