Spicy Roast Chicken in Banana Leaves


  • 2 4 lb chickens
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 4 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 10 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 inch ginger, roughly chopped
  • 6 tablespoons ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon hot chile pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 4 teaspoons garam masala
  • 6 cilantro roots, chcopped
  • 8 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 8 banana leaves


  • Wash and dry the chickens with paper towels. Prick all over with a skewer for penetration of the marinade. Rub lemon juice and salt all over the chicken and inside the cavity.
  • Cook the onion in hot oil until the onions start to brown. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes. Add almonds, chile powder, turmeric and garam masala and cook another minute. Cool completely.
  • Grind the above mixture in a food processor along with the cilantro roots and leaves until smooth. Rub all over the chicken and inside the cavaty and refrigerate for 6 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 400F. Soften the banana leaves by dropping them into a saucepan of very hot water. They will become pliant....wipe dry. Tie the legs of the chicken together.
  • Wrap the chicken in the banana leaves, making sure it is covered all over. Tie with cotton string, like a package. (this can be done with aluminum foil if banana leaves are unavailable. Roast for 1 1/2 hours. Unwrap the chicken, baste with juices and return to oven for 10 minutes. or until brown. Check for doneness...internal temperature should be at 160-170 F. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.


  • SERVINGS: 12
  • SOURCE: Adapted from "The Food of India"