“Kumar Mahadevan is a master of spicing and this mix, to create juicy, delicious chicken, is one of his best recipes. The yoghurt marinade helps tenderise the chicken.” Maeve O'Meara, Food Safari Fire






Skill level

Average: 3.4 (81 votes)


  • 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) spatchcock, butterflied and skin removed
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tbsp malt vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp Greek-style yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp mustard oil
  • 100 g (3½ oz) butter or ghee, melted


Garam masala

  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground mace
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground star anise
  • 2 tsp ground cumin

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 6 hours

Score the breasts of the spatchcock, making three cuts each with a sharp knife. Combine the turmeric, chilli powder, ginger, garlic, vinegar and salt, and rub over the spatchcock. Marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours.

Combine all the garam masala ingredients and add to the yoghurt along with the mustard oil and a pinch of salt. Stir well and coat the spatchcock. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for another 3 hours.

Preheat your tandoor, barbecue or charcoal grill to high heat. Thread two long metal skewers through the spatchcock crossways. Place on the barbecue, breast-side down, for 6 minutes (or until cooked). When tested with a skewer, the juices should run clear. If you’re grilling in the oven, allow approximately 10–12 minutes.

Rest for 5 minutes before cutting into pieces and brushing with the butter or ghee. Serve with mint and yoghurt sauce as part of a shared meal.


Recipe from Food Safari Fire by Maeve O'Meara (Hardie Grant, hbk, $55).  Photography by Toufic Charabati.

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