I make this roast chicken more than any other. I think it is a perfect blend of spice and given its origin of Ethoipia, provides an exotic addition to my cooking repetoire.
I must say after seeing the SBS Food Safari episode on African cooking, I have been quite keen to try an Ethopian restaurant, but sadly there doesn’t appear to be in any Sydney (well, that I can find – help anyone out there ?). In Montreal a couple of years ago, my friend had suggested we go to one on our last night, but we ended up having Spanish Tapas instead.
Anyway, back to my chicken dish. The chicken is rubbed with a Berbere spice mix. This can be purchased from Herbie’s Spices, or you can can make your own using a blend of sea salt, peppercorns, cumin seed, coriander seed, ajowan seeds, fenugreek, allspice powder, whole dried chilli, nutmeg, cloves and ginger in a mortar and pestle.
I used a recipe by Cath Claringbold who used to run the wonderful MeccaBah restaurants (Melb, BrisVegas and Canberra). I’ve had some fantastic food at these restaurants on many visits interstate and often dream about the sublime date icecream, sweet potato felafels, beetroot salad and katafi pastry cheese balls. Cath has since sold the restaurants to new owners and I hope that one day she will release a cookbook and if so, I’d be first in line to buy it !! In the meantime, Cath writes occasional food articles for Good Weekend (Age/SMH).
I’ve used the Berbere spice mix on salmon fillets (skin on) and I notice that Herbie’s has a recipe using it with goat, which sounds interesting.
To cook the chicken, drizzle with olive oil and then with your hands massage the Berbere spice on thickly to coat. Cook in a moderate oven (180C) for about 1.5 hours until the juices run clear and the chicken is all toasty.
I served the chicken with baked potato (skin on) and kumera along with a crisp green salad. Its also nice with baked pumpkin rubbed with a little cumin & olive oil and served with some yoghurt drizzled over, chopped fresh red chilli and coriander leaves on top.