• Duck fat renders the skin of a roast chicken a deep, golden brown (The Incredible Spice Men by Cyrus Todiwala and Tony Singh )Source: The Incredible Spice Men by Cyrus Todiwala and Tony Singh

This chicken is flavoured with a combination I have liked very much since childhood. I had acute asthma, and when the coughing fits got too heavy my parents would make me a juice of ginger blended with turmeric, honey and cinnamon. It worked like a dream, and to this day I swear by it. I tried roasting chicken with the mixture one day, adding some other touches – it was fantastic. To serve this with Tony’s roasties, you’ll need two ovens; the cooking temperatures are different.






Skill level

Average: 3.1 (123 votes)


  • 1.2 kg (2 lb 10 oz) chicken


  • 4½ tbsp honey
  • 50g (2 oz) fresh root ginger, chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2¼ tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1½ tbsp lime juice
  • 2¼ tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed or olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground 
  • black pepper


  • 1–1.2 kg (2 lb 4 oz–2 lb 10 oz) floury potatoes, peeled and cut roughly into 5 cm (2 in) chunks
  • 100 ml (3½ fl oz) rapeseed oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp vegetable bouillon (stock) powder 
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder (optional)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Resting time 5 minutes

In a blender or mini food-processor, blitz together all of the marinade ingredients to a fine paste. Taste and adjust the seasoning if liked.

Pat the chicken dry with kitchen paper. Put it in a dish and rub the marinade all over it and if time allows let it rest for an hour or so in the fridge. Preheat an oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

Put the chicken in a roasting tin and baste with any excess marinade, reserving anything left over. Put the roasting tin in the oven and cook for 1 hour. You need to keep an eye on it for the first 10–15 minutes – the honey in the marinade will burn, so allow the chicken to brown in these first few minutes, and then cover it loosely with aluminium foil. Baste the chicken a few times during cooking, adding some of the reserved marinade if it starts to look dry.

To cook the potatoes, preheat an oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7. Put the prepared potatoes in a pan of salted water, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 7 minutes till only just underdone. Meanwhile, pour the oil into a large roasting tin and put into the oven for 5 minutes until hot.

Drain the potatoes well. Cover the pan and shake the potatoes about – you want to bash up their edges but not break them up. Gently transfer them to the hot roasting tin, turn them about in the hot oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast on the top shelf for 30 minutes, then turn them over and roast for a further 20–30 minutes or until crisp and golden.

After the chicken has been roasting for 1 hour, check whether it is cooked. (The meat is cooked when a thin skewer or a thick needle inserted in the thigh joint produces a clear liquid.) Transfer to a serving dish, cover the chicken with foil and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before you carve it.

Meanwhile, strain the liquid from the roasting tin into a small pan, adjust the seasoning to taste and keep warm.

Mix together the sage, chilli powder, bouillon powder and garlic powder if using, to make a spice mix. Remove the potatoes from the oven, set them on a plate lined with kitchen paper, and sprinkle over the spice mix.

Joint and serve the roast chicken alongside the roast potatoes, drizzled with the juices from the roasting pan.


Recipe from The Incredible Spice Men by Cyrus Todiwala and Tony Singh (BBC Books, $49.99, hbk, available here)


View all the recipes from The Incredible Spice Men.