Of course, you can change the final cooking method for Chargha Roast to your liking (baking or air frying). However, the traditional method for Chargha Roast is steaming and frying.
Chargha Roast is made from a whole chicken with the skin removed and deep cuts added, marinated in some very aromatic spices. And then steamed and fried for cooking. You top it with lots of chat masala and lemon, dip it in mint chutney, and smack your lips with every bite.
Step by Step to make Chargha Roast
1. Preparing the chicken
Pretty neat. You must remove the skin from the chicken if it has not already been removed. Second, wash it thoroughly and add deep horizontal cuts along its length and legs. To get rid of all the chicken and blood smell, I like to soak my chicken in vinegar for 15 minutes. And then I pat my chicken dry with a paper towel and prepare it for marinating.
The amount of spice mix in this recipe is ideal for a chicken that weighs about 1 to 2 kg (3 to 4 pounds). If using a larger bird, increase all spices and salt by 2 pinches.
The marinade for this Lahori chargha is very basic, although you may need to grind some of the spices to make this marinade. It contains salt, eggs, a little lemon juice, yogurt, a little food coloring, and some ground Pakistani spices. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl to make a smooth paste.
Rub the Chargha spice mixture thoroughly all over the chicken. Make sure you get all the deep cuts and edges etc. Be gentle and give your chicken the spa massage of its life! Also, make sure you get a cavity.
Unlike beef or mutton, chicken is inherently tasteless. So for the marinade to work well, the longer you leave it, the better. I let the chicken marinate in the fridge overnight, but you can go as long as 8 hours.
3. How to Cook Chargha Roast
When you are ready to cook the chicken, remove it from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes in advance and bring it to room temperature. Tie the legs of the chicken together with string and use a toothpick or BBQ stick to attach the chicken to the body of the wing.
Lahori chargha is first steamed and then deep fried. But you can choose alternative ways to finish cooking. If you have an Instant Pot or Food Ninja, you can easily steam chicken on the grill. The method I chose here is super basic, so you can do it without any fancy appliances!
Use a pot large enough to cover the chicken. A thick-bottomed pot is best, or if you only have regular pots, use a grill grate or tava under the pot to avoid direct heat from the stove. Cut 3 to 4 onions in halves or quarters and place them in the bottom of a pot with about 1/4 cup oil.
Place the chargha on top of the onion and cover with a lid. Turn on the flame to full flame for about 5 minutes and then reduce to medium low flame. Let the chicken cook for about 25 to 30 minutes.
Turn off the heat and remove the lid. The onions at the bottom of the pan would release a significant amount of water and also cook in a wonderful spice.
Handle the chicken very carefully now as it will be tender. Add oil to a pot deep enough to cover half the chicken. Using strong tongs, place the chicken in the hot oil and sear on both sides for 6 minutes.
Serve the chicken on a plate or on a bed of rice and drizzle generously with a little chat masala along with a little lemon juice.
Ingredients - Chargha Roast
- 1 whole chicken, of about 1.5 to 2 kg with skin removed and cuts added.
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp of yogurt
- 1 tbsp of garlic ginger paste
- 1 tsp of turmeric powder
- 2 tsp of red chili powder
- 2 tsp of cumin powder
- 1 tsp of whole spice powder (garam masala)
- 3 tbsp of lemon
- 1 tsp chat masala
- 1 tsp green cardamom powder (choti elaichi powder)
- 2 tsp salt
- A pinch of nutmeg powder
- A pinch of red food color
- Oil for frying
Instruction - Chargha Roast
1. Skin and clean the whole chicken. Add deep horizontal cuts along the length of the chicken. Treat the chicken with 1/2 cup of vinegar and let it sit in the vinegar for 10 to 15 minutes to get rid of any odor.
2. Discard the vinegar and pat the chicken dry with a paper towel.
3. Put all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
4. Coat the chicken evenly with the marinade, making sure to get all the cuts and nooks and crannies.
5. Cover the chicken and leave it overnight or at least 8 hours in the refrigerator.
6. Remove the chicken and let it rest for 30 minutes before baking. Tie the chicken legs together with thread. And pin the wings to the body using toothpicks.
7. Add about 1/4 cup oil and 3 to 4 halved onions to a deep pot. It is best to place a pan under the pot or use a pot with a heavy bottom.
8. Place the chicken on top of the onions. And cover the pot with a lid.
9. Steam the chicken on high for 5 minutes and then on medium to low for another 25 minutes. (increase the time by 10 minutes if your chicken weighs more than 4 lbs or 1.5 kg)
10. Remove the chicken from the pot and fry it in hot oil for 6 minutes on each side or until it is crispy and golden on each side. Make sure the oil level covers half of the chicken when you fry it.
11. Place on a plate and generously sprinkle some chat masala and lemon juice on top.