Tandoori-style whole guinea fowl


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

The word mussallam means ‘whole’, and fabulous dishes using whole game birdegularly graced the dinner tables at royal households in Rajasthan. Most of these dishes were very extravagant and took many hours to prepare. Jungli Murgh Mussallam is a somewhat simplified version of a regal dish, which is cooked tandoori-style in a hot oven. Guinea fowl has a subtle gamey flavour and delicious tender meat.


  • 1 guinea fowl, about 1.3 kg/3lb
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 5 ml/1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 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
  • 45 ml/3 tbsp Greek (US strained plain) yogurt
  • 10 ml/2 tsp gram flour (besan)
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp double (heavy) cream
  • 5 ml/1 tsp ground coriander
  • 5 ml/1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 5–10ml/1–2 tsp chilli powder
  • 5 ml/1 tsp garam masala
  • 45 ml/3 tbsp sunflower oil or light olive oil
  • wedges of lemon, onion rings and cucumber slices, to garnish
  • Indian bread or Pilau Rice with Raisins, to serve

For the stuffing

  • 30 ml/2 tbsp sunflower oil or light olive oil
  • 175 g/6 oz minced (ground) turkey
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 5 ml/1 tsp ginger purée
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed, or 5ml/1 tsp garlic purée
  • 1.25 ml/¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp salt
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • 1 small (US medium) egg, beaten
  • 50 g/2 oz/¼ cup butter, melted


  1. Skin the guinea fowl and carefully remove the tips of the wings and legs using sharp kitchen scissors. You could ask a butcher to do this for you. Lightly score the breast, legs and thighs with a sharp knife.

  2. Mix the lemon juice, salt, ginger and garlic together and rub this mixture all over the guinea fowl. Cover the bird with clear film (plastic wrap) and set aside for 30 minutes to marinate.

  3. Whisk the yogurt and gram flour together in a bowl until smooth, then stir in the cream, coriander, cumin, turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala and oil.

  4. Place the guinea fowl in a glass dish or bowl, pour over the marinade and rub well into the meat, including all the slashes made earlier. Cover with clear film and refrigerate for 4–6 hours or overnight, if possible. Bring the guinea fowl to room temperature before cooking.

  5. For the stuffing, heat the oil over a medium-high heat and add the turkey. Stir-fry for 4–5 minutes, until the meat begins to brown, then add the chopped onion, the ginger and the garlic. Stir-fry for 3–4 minutes, then add the turmeric and salt. Continue to stir-fry for a further 3–4 minutes, then stir in the coriander.

  6. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and leave to cool, then add the beaten egg and mix well. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.

  7. Fill the guinea fowl with the stuffing mixture and tie it up with fine string or secure with trussing needles. Put it on a roasting pan and spread any remaining marinade over the breast and legs.

  8. Roast for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Cook for a further 45 minutes, basting every 15 minutes with the melted butter as well as the pan juices.

  9. Remove the guinea fowl from the oven, loosely cover with foil to keep it warm and let it rest for 10–15 minutes before carving. Strain the pan juices and serve separately.

  10. Serve, garnished with wedges of lemon, onion rings and cucumber slices, accompanied by any Indian bread or Pilau Rice with Raisins.


  • Minced (ground) chicken makes a good alternative to the minced turkey used in the stuffing mixture.

  • You could use a chicken instead of a guinea fowl if you prefer - they are easier to find and cheaper.

Per portion Energy 296kcal/1237kJ; Protein 30g; Carbohydrate 3g, of which sugars 1g; Fat 19g, of which saturates 5g; Cholestero124mg; Calcium 58mg; Fibre 0.3g; Sodium 614mg.