Microwave cooked roast chicken

Roasting chicken in a convection microwave

Roasting, baking… whatever you want to call it, this is how I cooked a whole chicken in my convection grill microwave. To be specific, I have an LG convection microwave at home. It has a rotisserie but I decided to bake/roast it on a non-stick, baking pan.

I’ve always wanted to try roasting a whole chicken at home this because I got increasingly sick of buying roasted chicken from restaurants — or “grilled chicken” as it’s more commonly called in India. It’s not charcoal grilled, but cooked in a rotisserie (fired up using LPG). Not only were they getting expensive, but the chickens used were small — or they over-cook them so much that they suck the very life and soul out of the poor bird leaving you behind with a very shrunk chicken. Some of these restaurants even use food colouring to make the end product appear more red than required.

I on the other hand, longed for the kind of roast chicken I grew up eating in Bahrain. Simple yet spicy (but not chilli) and generally not a whole lot as far as the marination goes. I looked up a few recipes online, mostly using the keywords “Arabian” or “Lebanese” and got the gist of what the common ingredients used were. I then read up on the simple Western baking recipes for chicken and how the marination was to be done.

Once I had a fair idea, I went out to buy me a whole chicken with skin. You would think it would be an easy task but considering most Indian cooking involving chicken uses skinless chicken, it proved to be rather difficult. After trying the local chicken vendor, I went to HyperCity which is a well stocked, big supermarket in Meenakshi Mall (Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore). They had everything but a whole chicken with skin. So I rode all the way to Auchan (formerly known as Spar) on Bannerghatta Road. They had much better variety and stocked a lot of chickens for sale with the skin intact. All cleaned out and retailing for a very reasonable Rs. 139 a kilo, I bought a bird that weighed about 1.2 kilos (2.6 lbs).

Back home, I washed the chicken at least twice and left it in a bowl so as to drain out as much water as possible.

Whole chicken with skin
Drain out as much water from the cleaned chicken. You’d be surprised to see how much more water comes out of the bird while cooking.
Pouring olive oil on chicken
I first poured some olive oil and rubbed the chicken gently with my own hands. You can use a brush if you want, but I’m a rather ‘hands-on’ person.
Lifting skin of chicken
Separate the skin from the meat by gently pulling it apart. You may need to use a knife to make cuts so that your fingers can be inserted in between the skin and the flesh.

The whole point of doing so is so that you can marinate the flesh with the spice mix under the skin and on to the meat itself and not just smear it all over the outer skin.

Indian spice mix
My spice mix consisted of chilli powder, pepper, turmeric, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, and some oregano

I’m not mentioning how many spoonfuls of the above spices because it all depends on how spicy you want your chicken. Also, depends on the size of the bird. I wasn’t seeking ‘hot,’ but enough of a spice mixture so as not to end up tasting bland.

I then smeared some ginger-garlic paste along with the spices all over the chicken. Be gentle when using your hands marinating the chicken. Especially under the skin, which can tear easily. I turned the chicken over and got my fingers in as I far I could so as to properly spread the spice mix.

I then rubbed some salt all over. Note: Olive oil, ginger-garlic paste and condiments like oregano already adds a bit of saltiness. So be careful not to over-do it with spoonfuls of salt.

Marinated chicken ready for baking
I cut up some capsicum, baby potatoes and onion, and even stuffed the chicken with the same (and a few cloves of garlic). The rest covered up the space on the pan face down on the buttered surface.

Now back to the microwave. Whether you use a convection microwave or a conventional oven, it still needs to be pre-heated. In the LG microwave, that means clicking ‘Mode’ and then turning the dial to the ‘fan’ symbol on the display with the symbols indicating ‘Pre-Heat’ function. Enter, and when you get to the temperatures, it begins at 180° Celsius (356° Fahrenheit) and goes all the way up to 220° Celsius. I always believe slow cooking ensures uniform cooking right through, so I set it to 180° and pre-heated the microwave. When the microwaved “pinged” implying it was now ready, I placed the pan on top of a stand and put it in. I set the timer for 45 minutes and pressed ‘Start’.

At the end of 45 minutes, I took the chicken out and used a knife to poke through the skin and meat. The meat was still a bit pink around the legs, which tends to be the case when roasting a whole chicken. I then flipped the chicken around on its back because the juices that flow out of the bird while cooking made the base of the chicken quite soggy. I didn’t drain the juices from the pan because it’s full of flavour and I have use for it.

I placed the turned chicken back inside the microwave and cooked it for another 30 minutes. By the way, your cooking time will depend on the size of the bird. Larger the meat, obviously the longer its going to take.

All said and done, this was the end result…

Microwave cooked roast chicken
Voila!

I cut a sliver and it tasted great! (If I may say so myself)

I made the above chicken for a few friends who had come over and a group of five ate devoured the whole bird leaving behind only bones in such a condition you probably wouldn’t have guessed it was a chicken.

I’m quite happy with the way the microwaved chicken turned out. A few months prior I attempted to cook tandoor chicken (yoghurt marination and all) in the microwave and it was… no, it didn’t quite work. There are some things you just need the right utensils for.

None the less, the success of this led to more attempts and trying different recipes for marination. Like, I mixed the spice powders (not as much though) with dollops of barbecue sauce (brand: American Garden). Logic being, the flavour of hickory is only better accentuated by hot charcoal, something that’s missing when cooking using electricity. So I figured the spices would sweeten the chicken less had I only smeared the chicken with barbecue sauce.

I also tried an even simpler marinate of olive oil, ginger-garlic paste, chopped coriander leaves and salt. Came out swell — jut not something your average Indian will like.

I wanted to roast chicken myself because in Kannur, we now get locally made Lebanese bread (Rs. 20 for 5 pcs) and I had a can of hummus and baba ganoush lying around in Bangalore. Instead of adding more olive oil to the hummus (as is the norm), I use the juices left in the pan and mix it. Dip the Lebanese bread in hummus, dig in to the chicken and… mmmmm.

The success of roasting at home has meant I no longer buy “grilled chicken” from restaurants such as Empire and other places like that. Not only are their food dripping in oil, the quality of their chickens (read: age) leave a lot to be desired.

So there! If you ever thought about roasting an entire chicken at home, let me tell you, it’s do-able if you have a proper oven or a good convection microwave. Have fun cooking!

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20 Comments

  • SHAFAQAT

    14/03/2014

    You have not mentioned whether you used microwave, grill or convection

    [Reply]

    Helen T. Goulet Reply:

    In LG Mkicrowave there is Pre-heat function only for convection mode , and not for grill/microwave mode.

    So obviously he used convection mode for sure.

    [Reply]

  • Rahul

    28/08/2014

    Why not use a meat thermometer to check if the chicken is well cooked from inside. Nice quick recipe nonetheless

    [Reply]

  • M.Soren

    14/10/2014

    Hi,I am M.Soren.I like your roasted chicken process of making.I am sure it will help me my first cooking.

    [Reply]

  • Lindsey C. Smith

    21/11/2014

    Whats the difference in Tandoori Chicken and yours method ? i guess only difference is in marination process,.

    i have recently bought the LG microwave with convection and charcoal heater , and have tried the Chicken Tandoori 8-9 times , but i didn’t get the same results as we get in Restaurants.,

    I am going to try your method , and will post results , thanks for the nice post.

    one last question,
    have you tasted Chicken Tandoori ?
    then did you liked your Roasted chicken better than chicken Tandoori ?
    just wanted to know out of curiosity.

    Thanks

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    “have you tasted Chicken Tandoori ?”

    Being an Indian who loves his meat, that’s an obvious yes. Why doesn’t Tandoori Chicken come out well in an electric convection oven? My guess: the cooking process doesn’t cook the yoghurt right. You see, for Tandoori Chicken and many such kebabs, the marination process involves adding the spices to yoghurt, mixing it up and then using that spiced yoghurt mix to marinate the meat (be it chicken or lamb). It’s the yoghurt that tenderizes the meat. So my guess is, ‘electric heat’ doesn’t do as good a job of cooking tandoori meat as well as a traditional tandoor* or a charcoal fire does. If you barbecue marinated tandoor chicken pieces, it comes out just as well.

    *A tandoor is a large oven traditionally made using clay. Inside the clay oven, they light charcoal and wood at the bottom. Flat breads and kebabs are cooked inside the tandoor.

    [Reply]

    Lindsey C. Smith Reply:

    imho i guess if we maintain/get the temp. of microwave oven to same level of clay oven then it will be possible, it just cooking the food at right temp. for tight amount of time . thats my thinking, recently i have been told by friend that i cant make tandoori chicken in microwave mode as it doesnt have 2 grill coils/filaments, so he suggested me to guy one of “oven toaster griller” some thing like “Bajaj Majesty 4500 TMCSS 45-Litre Oven Toaster Grill”. it has 3 grilling coils/filaments, top,bottom and sideways . and can reach upto 250 degree Celsius , while my microwave can reach upto 230 only. the friend have tried and made successfully tandoori chicken in “oven toaster griller” so i am looking forward to trying the chicken tandoori made in “oven toaster griller” and buying one of those.

    [Reply]

  • ronald ravinder kumar

    11/12/2014

    it would have been good if it was a recipe using microwave instead of a combo (microwave +gril+convection) though cos most of us have microwave only function!!

    thanks

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    The reason why convection microwaves exist as a model is because standard microwaves cannot do such baking. Regular microwaves are for heating only, not necessarily “cooking”.

    [Reply]

  • Rafal

    17/01/2015

    Very good, I shredded the onions in the food processor, I think next time I will mince them so they mix in better. The sumak was a nice touch. Everyone who has tried them gives them high marks…Thanks for the recipe.

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    You’re welcome Rafal! 🙂

    [Reply]

  • Stephenie

    23/12/2015

    The chicken I roasted in my convection microwave based on your directions was so juicy. I created a rub of random spices I had in my drawer… berbere, cayenne, orange-pepper, ranch powder, garlic, sea salt and random others. It was fantastic and the gravy from the drippings was the best flavored that I’ve ever made. I’m making another one for Christmas dinner for guests. This time I’ll leave out the hot spices (for my guests’ sensitive palate) and add in rosemary, thyme and similar spices. I tossed some pieces of onion in the body cavity of the first one and this time I’m going to try a few slices of oranges to highlight the orange-pepper spice.

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Wow, that sounds great Stephenie! Merry Christmas and may your roast chicken come out really well!

    [Reply]

  • cooking

    14/02/2016

    Piece Size: In both conventional and microwave cook-ing, small
    pieces cook faster than large ones. They make a healthier
    choice in yoou easy recipes forr dinner. * Sweet (Madhura) – Sweet foods nourish, cool, moisten, oil,
    and increase weight.

    [Reply]

  • Abilash R

    04/04/2016

    machu can u tell me what size of oven is needed to roast a whole bird- i am planning to buy a convection and will 30 lts do the job, needless to say grilled chicken is my fav and will be doing it quite frequently.

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Yup, 32 litre convection microwaves are more than enough to nicely roast a big bird. You have a few good models from the likes of LG or Samsung. So consider any one of these models:

    1) LG MC3283FMPG 32-Litre Convection Microwave Oven (Silver)

    2) LG MJ-3283BCG 32-Litre 900-Watt Convection Microwave Oven (Silver)

    3) Samsung CE117PC-B2/XTL 32-Litre 2900-Watt Convection MWO with Tandoor Technology Microwave Oven (Black)

    [Reply]

  • Lynn

    27/06/2016

    Tasted great! Made one tonight in my new Breville convection oven. Took 1.5hrs at 350 to cook the 3.5lbs bird through. Also made some pulao to go with it. Thanks for the recipe:)

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Good to know Lynn! 🙂

    [Reply]

  • Lakshmi

    02/12/2016

    Want to make grilled chicken ( not whole) in a convection microwave. Can the marinated chicken be directly placed on the rack instead of baking tray. Also, what mode to set the oven, as there is also a grill option available whereas in your recipe you have cooked the chicken in convection mode perhaps. Please suggest. Also please explain how to set the microwave for grilling

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Well, I don’t know which brand of microwave you have but if you are grilling individual pieces, the temperature can be the same – 180-190 degrees celcius. But the duration has to be shorter, say for around 30 minutes (check after 15 minutes). You can place it on the rack, but the marinate will drip down on to the glass plate in the microwave making it messy.

    [Reply]

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