Pomegranate Molasses Chicken and Kumara

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Appears in

A World in My Kitchen

A World in My Kitchen

By Peter Gordon

Published 2003

  • About

Pomegranate molasses is a wonderful thing to have in the kitchen — it has the tang of tamarind and the sweetness of a light honey. It’s available from specialist delis, Turkish and Middle-Eastern food stores and some Asian food shops. If you can’t source it, use equal parts of maple syrup or honey and tamarind paste instead. This recipe also works well with a very small turkey. It can be eaten hot or cold.


  • 1 large chicken, about 1.5 kg(3 lb)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled and crushed
  • 2 teaspoons five spice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 small handful mixed herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary and tarragon)
  • 80 ml(2 ½ fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
  • 600-800 g(1 lb3 oz-1 lb10 oz) orange kumara, scrubbed and cut into 3 cm(1 ¼ in) chunks
  • 4 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes or chopped fresh red chilli
  • 60 ml(2 fl oz) pomegranate molasses


Preheat oven to 250°C/525°F/Gas Mark 7. Rinse inside of chicken and dust with 2 teaspoons salt. Stuff cavity with onion, garlic and herbs, then place chicken, breast-side down, in a pre-heated lightly oiled roasting dish.

Brush chicken with a little more oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, add 250 ml(8 fl oz) of boiling water to the dish and roast for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place kumara in a deep saucepan and cover with water. Boil 10 minutes, then drain.

Place remaining oil in a small pan and add spices, seeds and chilli and sesame seeds. Fry over a moderate heat until the seeds begin to pop, then remove from heat.

Combine the spicy oil with the kumara and 1 teaspoon salt and place around chicken in the dish, turning chicken over so that the breast now faces upwards. Brush skin with molasses, turn the oven down to 170°C/340°F/Gas Mark 3-4 and continue roasting until chicken and kumara are cooked – about 45 minutes. If the skin begins to burn, cover the bird with foil.