• Here's a handy shortcut to try. (China Squirrel )Source: China Squirrel

This is not your ordinary roast chicken and once you try it I guarantee you’ll be hooked. Marinating the chicken overnight will make all the difference, so try not to skip this step. It’s perfect picnic food – serve with a cold beer, plenty of bread and napkins and a salad or two. You’ll want for little else.






Skill level

Average: 3.5 (59 votes)


  • 1.4 kg whole free-range chicken


  • 75 g whole black peppercorns
  • 85 g cumin seeds
  • 3 large garlic cloves        
  • 185 ml canola oil        
  • 225 ml red wine vinegar    
  • 75 g caster sugar        
  • 35 g cooking salt        
  • 375 ml dark beer


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.


Marinating time overnight

To make the marinade, place the peppercorns and cumin seeds in a dry frying pan and shake over medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Remove from the heat and cool, then place in a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle and finely grind.

Place the garlic and oil in a blender and blitz until the garlic is finely chopped. Add the vinegar and blend until well combined. Transfer to a large bowl, add the beer, sugar, salt and the ground spices and stir until dissolved.

Place the chicken into a deep ceramic dish, pour over the marinade and rub all over to coat well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.           
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Lightly grease a roasting pan and place a wire rack into the pan. Place the chicken on the rack, then pour over the marinade. Tightly cover the pan with baking paper, then with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and paper and bake for a further 15 minutes or until golden and the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a skewer. Remove from the oven and stand for at least 15 minutes before carving. Alternatively, serve the chicken whole and carve on the spot.


Photography, styling and food preparation by china squirrel. Recipe courtesy of Alejandro Saravia of Pastuso, Melbourne.


Tune into the SBS 2 Broadcast of Tropfest at 8:30pm on Sunday December 7.