Marinated whole chicken with lamb stuffing


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook: 300 Classic Recipes from the Great Regions of India

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook

By Mridula Baljekar

Published 2017

  • About

Although this may seem an unusual combination, the two different meats work extremely well together, with the spicy lamb juices soaking into the chicken, both flavouring and making it beautifully tender and succulent. To make Zaffrani Murgh Musallam, a bird is first skinned and marinated overnight in a saffron-scented yogurt, before being filled with a stuffing made from richly spiced lamb, and roasted.


For the marinad

  • large pinch of saffron threads, pounded
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp hot milk
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp natural (plain) yogurt
  • 2.5 cm/1 in fresh root ginger, grated, or 10ml/2 tsp ginger purée
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed, or 10ml/2 tsp garlic purée
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp ground cardamom
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1.3 kg/3lb chicken

For the stuffing and sauce

  • 225 g/8 oz lean minced (ground) lamb
  • 1–2 fresh green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 cm/½ in fresh root ginger, grated, or 5ml/1 tsp ginger purée
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed, or 5ml/1 tsp garlic purée
  • 10 ml/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp garam masala
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp salt, or to taste
  • 25 g/1 oz unsalted butter
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp gram flour (besan)
  • fresh mint sprigs and fine strips of fresh red chilli, to garnish
  • pilau, to serve


  1. For the marinade, soak the saffron in the milk for 10 minutes. Stir in the yogurt, ginger, garlic, cardamom, nutmeg and salt.

  2. Skin the chicken and lightly score the legs, thighs and the breasts with a knife.

  3. Brush the marinade over the chicken, cover and refrigerate for 6–8 hours. Bring to room temperature before cooking. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.

  4. For the stuffing, mix together the lamb, chillies, ginger, garlic, cumin, garam masala, mint, half the coriander and salt. Fill the cavity and the neck end of the chicken with the stuffing, packing it tightly.

  5. Place the chicken in a roasting tin and cover with a lid or a loose covering of foil. Roast in the centre of the oven for 1 hour.

  6. Melt the butter in a small pan. Remove the lid or foil from the chicken and baste with the pan juices, then pour over the butter. Cook for a further 30 minutes, basting again with the juices after 15 minutes.

  7. Transfer the chicken to a warmed serving dish, cover with foil and leave to rest.

  8. Strain the pan juices into a jug and make up to 300ml/¼ pint/1cups with water. Blend the gram flour with a little water in the pan in which you melted the butter, then stir in the stock. Cook over a medium heat, stirring, until thickened. Stir in the remaining chopped coriander. Serve in a warmed jug.

  9. Carve the chicken and garnish with mint and chilli. Serve with the sauce and a pilau.

Per portion Energy 216kcal/910kJ; Protein 33g; Carbohydrate 2g, of which sugars 0g; Fat 9g, of which saturates 3g; Cholesterol 135mg; Calcium 24mg; Fibre 0.3g; Sodium 578mg.