Gg’s Roast Turkish Chook

A finger-lickingly tasty, juicy and tender roast chicken that takes you to Turkey without having to travel. Additional spices, herbs and lemon are added to the marinade simply because they work well together and I love those flavours. The chicken is garnished with roasted pistachios as they are my DCM’s favourite nut. Any olive of your choice works if you’re an olive lover like we are. Pita may be substituted for Turkish bread if you are unable to find any. 

Roast Turkish Chook Recipe:
(serves 2)


  • 3/4 – 1 large chicken (whole and butterflied, bones left on, the spine portion removed)
  • a handful of shelled pistachios (garnish, optional)
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes (garnish, optional)


  • 3 – 4 tablespoons Turkish chicken spice rub (My taste buds tell me the components should include: all spice, cardamom, cloves, cumin, fenugreek, dried oregano, garlic powder, ground coriander, dried mint, paprika, red pepper and turmeric) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons olive oil or any oil you would like to use
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • few sprigs of lemon thyme or regular thyme
  • few sprigs of cilantro
  • 1 fresh/ dried bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste



  1. Throw all ingredients into a zip lock bag or airtight container big enough for chicken and mix. Taste for seasoning and adjust to your liking.
  2. Add chicken to the marinade. Coat chicken well marinade. Leave in the fridge to marinate overnight or up to a week. Turn chicken occasionally.


  1. Take chicken out of the fridge, transfer to a roasting tray. Arrange the chicken so it is laid flat with the meat and skin side facing up. Place on the lowest rack in the oven.
  2. Set the oven to the conventional cooking setting () at 200 degrees Celsius. This allows the chicken to warm up and the skin to dry while the oven is heating up at the same time. Dry skin = crispy skin.
  3. Once the oven is properly heated, start timer to roast chicken for 30-45 minutes. Your nose is your best indicatior of whether food is cooked. Once you can smell delicious aromas wafting from the kitchen, your food is more or less cooked.
  4. When chicken has turned slightly golden brown, switch the oven to the fan assisted grilling setting () and turn the heat up to 250 degree Celsius. This renders the fat and crisps the skin. About 8 to 15 minutes. 
  5. Turn off oven and remove chicken from the oven. Allow chicken to rest 10 to 15 minutes. 
  6. If serving with shelled pistachios, scatter pistachios on a baking sheet and pop into the oven together with the chicken in its last 3 – 5 minutes of roasting. If they are not as done as you would like, just leave them in the oven after you have removed the chicken and turned off the oven. Be careful not to burn the pistachios.
  7. If serving with store-bought Turkish bread, pop bread into the switched-off oven to warm while chicken rests.

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