Skillet Roasted Chicken with Ginger and Soy





What I have today is a recipe inspired by the memory of my aunt – a skillet roasted chicken, stuffed with fried onions and made rich with lovely caramelized hue and flavors. There is nostalgia, fun times and also a bucket full of somberness all nestled together. All these feelings are each a component of this recipe as much as it a part of our lives.



My Mamoni who was only second to my Maa, is no more. We lost her a few months back and I like to believe that she is probably happier along with my Maa and our grandma and grandpa. Mamoni is my Maa‘s sister. It feels like an era has been erased off physically; what remains is not tangible but eternal. Memories, photographs, smiles, family get together and laughter –  and all of them are slowly fading away. This is probably one of my ways to keep up with it, to write down and then turn the pages and read of what I might forget a few years later. It feels like our generation is the last link to all those years and we need to keep them alive.

A couple of days back, all of a sudden I was weighed down by the thoughts of long back with a sudden urge to pick up the phone and call… only I did not know who to call. Just that thought made it go downhill. The memories of Maa, Mamoni and everyone else whom I miss so much,  came flooding back. I wished my cousin sisters were here. As I was sorting through the days of a particular time of my life, I remembered this recipe. Suddenly. Now I am unable to trace back my thoughts. I just had to make this.  There is no written recipe. I regret why I never asked, why I never wrote down.

All I had was the memories, like a crumpled up screenplay – of how it looked and how it tasted. I also remembered  one  particular day when I sat by the door of the kitchen and talked to her as she had the chicken out of the pressure cooker and was getting it ready to brown and crisp the outside. That was the very special part. I loved the scrapings that came out from the bottom of the wok.


Skillet Roasted Chicken Diptych 1


I have no siblings, but I was surrounded by my cousins and never missed anything. Cousin sisters who were close and comfortable like old clothes. We grew up together, we shared our childhood and our secrets. We still do. One of my cousins mentioned that there used to be no soy sauce in this recipe. The browning happened only by slowly turning and cooking with the aid of some sugar which caramelized and added to the color. Mamoni is her mom, she would know better. But I remember the flavor of soy sauce; it was different for me as Maa never made anything like this. Not that it matters. Another one told me that this recipe was probably our grandma’s which got changed over time…Sometimes I doubt if I remember things the right way, or do my imaginations feel so real that I start believing in them?

This also happens to be a recipe which is a reminder that we were capable of being mean; kids who threw a terrible fit one day when this had to be shared. I can not imagine ourselves to be such devils, but we were. We got to be really ashamed of ourselves.

Cooking large, whole chicken intimidates me.  I have used  tiny Cornish hen here. If you are using anything larger than the Cornish hen, the cooking time will vary. I have also taken the liberty to stuff the chicken with fried onions.  Mamoni did nothing like it, but it enhances the flavors a lot!  I could not remember if she cooked the potatoes on the side or stuffed them. I cooked them on the side. There is nothing like a “must do” for the recipe, except for the marination and the browning technique towards the end. After all it is a recipe which I made up trying to satiate a craving and connect two different times of my life. I cooked it in a skillet as I saw Mamoni do it; she would cook the chicken partially in the pressure cooker and them brown it in a kadai/wok. Since the Cornish hen is really small, it cooked right in the pan and in very little time. The ginger and soy adds a subtle flavor, but feel free to use any spice or herbs you would like.





Skillet Roasted Chicken with Ginger and Soy  



Ingredients: (serves 1 – it is a Cornish hen))

  1. 1 Cornish hen, skin removed and the inside cleaned
  2. 1 tablespoon vinegar
  3. 1 tablespoon Chili Garlic Paste
  4. 2.5 – 3 tablespoon ginger paste (or fresh ginger grated)
  5. 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce/or tamari /or gluten free tamari (use a little less than half if using the soy concentrate)**
  6. 5 tablespoon oil
  7. 4 cups onion, sliced in thin half moons
  8. 4-5 hot green chili pepper
  9. red chili powder/cayenne – optional, use as per taste
  10. 2-3 medium potatoes, if you want to cook them with the chicken
  11. a teaspoon of sugar
  12. 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  13. salt to taste
  14. herbs of your choice to garnish, or you may use green onion

**the soy sauce in India are more like the soy sauce concentrates that we get in the Asian stores here. When I say soy sauce, I mean the light watery kind that we get in the grocery stores here. You will have to use less if you are using the other kind.



If you have frozen chicken, defrost it first. Remove skin of the chicken and trim off the fat. Wash and pat dry. Make deep incisions on the flesh of the chicken; this will help the marinade soften the chicken and moisten the flesh.

Rub in the vinegar and salt on all sides of the chicken and allow it to sit for about 15-30 minutes.

In the mean time, combine ginger paste, garlic paste, soy sauce, salt, chili powder, black pepper and half the amount of sugar in a bowl or a ziploc bag. After the first marination with vinegar and salt, marinate the whole chicken in this marinade. Place the chicken in the bowl or the bag and rub the marinade in to the chicken, especially inside the cuts you have made. Allow it to marinate for at least 2 hours. Overnight would be even better.

Heat 1.5 – 2 tablespoon of oil in a pan/skillet (a cast iron skillet works best), large enough to hold the chicken; add half of the onions and hot chili peppers. Sprinkle some salt and slowly cook them at medium heat until they start to caramelize and turn deep brown. Remove them with a slotted spoon and set aside. This will be stuffed inside the chicken.

Remove chicken from the marinade and stuff the chicken with the cooked onions and hot peppers.

Heat the rest of the oil in same pan. Turn down the heat to medium. Add the rest of the sugar and a couple of tablespoon of the sliced onions and cook slowly while stirring constantly until the oil has a deep golden color. This is the sugar caramelized. Make sure the heat is low or else the sugar will burn. You will see the onions turn golden too.

Now place the stuffed chicken in the pan (I usually do it belly side down), pour the rest of the marinade over it and cover and cook at low to medium heat until the chicken is almost done, about 20 minutes (cooking time will vary with the size of the chicken and also the time of marination). If you are adding the potatoes, you have to add it mid way or towards the end of the cooking, so they are cooked when the chicken is done. They will be have to be browned with the chicken too. When done, the chicken should be cooked through but not falling apart.

Now is the tricky and which imparts the crisp outside along with the dark brown color. Uncover and start browning the chicken. The liquid will slowly evaporate. Add the rest of the onions and the herbs. Slowly cook each side of the chicken until all sides are deep brown. You might have to loosen it with a spatula so it does not stick to the pan and get burned.

The potatoes will brown too. Or if you do not want them browned, remove them and set aside and add them back to the pan when ready to serve.

Continue cooking until the chicken is browned in the way you want it. There should be no sauce.

Serve with the potatoes and onions already in the pan and serve it hot!


Preparation Time: 30 minutes + marination time

Cooking Time: 45 minutes – 60 minutes

Serves: 1

Difficulty Level: Intermediate




Related Posts:

Chicken Biryani

Mint Flavored Minced Meat Kebab/Rolls

Sausages with Mushroom, Onion and Dried Fruits

Zafrani Kofta Pulao: Saffron and Caramelized Onion Pilaf with Meatballs

Pan Seared Chicken with Onion, Tomato and Olives

Mangshor Jhol - Bengali Mutton Curry

Robibar-er Murgi-r Jhol: Sunday afternoon Chicken Curry





Blog Widget by LinkWithin

22 comments to Skillet Roasted Chicken with Ginger and Soy

  • Soma,
    We all know such things are part of life but it still hurts..hurts big time.isnt it?
    Its WONDERFUL that you want to and are recreating your childhood memories this way and sharing with us too….

    Cheer up (Ek cup ada dewa cha pathalam, shonge gorom gorom pakauri)


  • I know the feeling, i go through that a lot too , there are days when I think oly if I can just ring mom one more time, I miss the phone calls to her , there were times when I was just say vaccuming and i will thinking of her and then will stop doing that and give her a ring and just talk to her about everything and nothing, jus talking aobut things, I miss it, but I know they say time makes you sorrow less it is not sadness it is missing her , tlaking to her , asking her things, seeing her now it is like why go to India etc….
    Hugs to you Soma.
    Normally i should make say something to make you feel better but i think i have not done that, Love to you an dhugs.

  • A beautiful dish! Something I’d love to eat. Ginger and soy, a perfect flavor combination.



  • Soma

    Tight hug. Ki boli bolo to ? Amake call koro ok ?

    Ei chicken ta banate hobey, kono holidays e banabo

  • I know how you must be feeling, so sorry for your loss. Hugs ! But those precious memories will stay fresh within you forever ! And the food we eat and love during childhood will remain in our brains and nostrils forever, isn’t it?
    Whether you changed the original or not, this looks amazing ! Love the flavors you have used in here

  • so sorry to hear about your loss…u take care…
    i lost my grandmother last Friday…
    Btw, love your recipe…that bird does look inviting !!!

  • This looks amazing,Soma! I love chicken and your dish sounds delicious!

  • Hugs! How I wish I could rewind back just a handful of years.. when more of our loved ones were around.
    The chicken looks yummy and lovely photos as usual!

  • I am so sorry about your loss. Those cherished moments are sure to take you through those not-so-great days. Food is one such comforting thing to recollect old memories and cherish it over few days. That’s what I do. Even living this far makes me feel sad about missing few wonderful moments in life. Simple sambhar I make and its smell would remind me of my grandma’s house. I try to recollect those days with the smell of the dish I create (close enough to taste like my grandma’s). Even I had no siblings of my own but my cousins are more than own bro or sister.
    Anyways I would talk non-stop about it.

    The chicken looks delicious so delicious and perfect brown colour makes it so appetizing. I am going try this version for thanksgiving. Will let you know it tasted.

  • The chicken looks wonderfully crisp and flavorful with all the love that you have poured into it.

  • I have been reading your blog for the past few days, one post to the other, finding not only your recipes but your stories begging me to continue. There is no doubt about the beautiful recipes and photos but what you write pulls me here more than anything. I find my voice in a lot of things you have to say and today you post seems to have taken my heart.

  • Deepa

    Delicious and mouthwatering preparation.

  • Food is a lovely way to keep close the memory of loved ones. I am sure your Aunt lives on in your heart whenever you make her special dish

  • So touching. Whatever we may write will not wipe away your pain. Probably thats why you have tried to connect and revive some memories by making this preparation. And also there are so many people who have connected with you and vice versa through your blog. Love:)

  • I am sorry for your loss, but your grandma must be so proud of you, that you have picked up where she left off, creating gorgeous, perfect dishes such as this one. I love the flavors of this and may try it; my family would love it.

  • I know exactly how you feel, Soma. Cooking is how I keep my grandmothers alive, too! Thanks for sharing with us. xoxo

  • Wow….that’s an awesome recipe….love the presentation…..I can eat through my eyes…

  • That’s such a touching post Soma. I really don’t know what to say, except that its nice you can relive their memory thru the food they cooked…hugs to you

  • Those are indeed beautiful memories Soma. I think we all experience such things when we grow older. My parents are still here but I just know it won’t be that long anymore and it is always hard to lose loved ones. At least you still have the memory of the dish to recreate it and I am sure she wouldn’t have mind your changing little things here and there!

  • Beautiful beautiful memories you shared Soma. Eta amar banatei hobe and aaj kaal I love serving chicken roast.

  • Sorry to hear about your loss. Loss of loved ones is indeed painful. But the beautiful memories linger on and stay with us. This is a beautiful recipe… Dishes like this help create special moments. This post is a wonderful tribute to the amazing cooks in your family…

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

subscribe twitter icons


Find eCurry in: