A Bengali roast chicken (often pronounced as ‘roosht’, by Bengalis) is often served as a starter at a feast for guests (dawat) or at the start of a wedding meal. This is a very popular dish and is one of the most popular starters amongst Bangladeshis alongside tandoori chicken. I’ve never quite understood why we call it ‘roosht/roast’, because it’s not really a roast in the true sense of the word (that is to say it isn’t cooked in an oven), but I have my own theory. I reckon we call it a ‘roosht’ because it’s our equivalent of a traditional ‘roast chicken’ as most people in Bangladesh don’t own cookers or ovens like we do over here in the UK, most people who live in villages cook using a clay built stove and burn wood for fuel.


For the marinade

  • 4-6 bone-in chicken thighs or drumsticks, flesh scored
  • 1 tsp mild curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 5 tbsp ghee or oil

For the masala


  • STEP 1

    Put the chicken in a bowl, add the marinade spices and yogurt with ½ tsp salt and mix well. The chicken can be left to marinate for a few hours, or cooked straight away – leaving it to marinate will make it more tender.

  • STEP 2

    Melt the ghee in a non-stick frying pan. Fry the chicken for 5 mins on each side until golden. Remove from the pan and transfer to the bowl, leaving the ghee in the pan.

  • STEP 3

    Keep the pan on the heat and scrape it to release any caramelised bits stuck to the bottom. Add the bay leaves, cinnamon and cardamom pods and fry until they start to smell aromatic. Add the onions and garlic, followed by the ginger and 1-1½ tsp salt. Stir, cover and cook until soft and translucent, about 8-10 mins.

  • STEP 4

    Stir in the rest of the spices and fry over a low heat for 5-8 mins. Add 200ml water, cover and cook for a further 3-4 mins, or until the ghee separates from the masala (it should be bubbling around the edges of the pan).

  • STEP 5

    Add the chicken back to the pan, including any meat juices. Spoon some of the masala over the chicken and cover. Cook for a futher 10-15 mins or until the chicken is cooked through. Stir through the sliced green chillies and chopped coriander and serve immediately.

Goes well with


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