Country Captain

(Photo by 46137/Flickr)

Some say this is what the native cooks called a capon (domestic cockerel castrated and fattened for eating). It does not matter whether a capon or hen is used.

Serves 5-6.


1.5 kg/3 lb roasting chicken or chicken joints
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder (optional)
1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
3 tablespoons ghee or oil
4 large onions, thinly sliced
1 or 2 fresh chillies, seeded and sliced


Mix together the ginger, garlic crushed with salt, turmeric, pepper and chilli powder, blending to a paste with a little lime or lemon juice. Prick the skin of the chicken and rub all over with the mixture. Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Heat ghee or oil in a heavy pan and fry half the onions, stirring frequently, until deep golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside for garnishing the dish. Fry remaining onion and chillies until onion is pale golden, adding a little more ghee or oil if needed.

Add chicken and fry until golden, turning it with tongs to brown both sides. Add a few tablespoons water to pan, cover and simmer until chicken is tender. At end of cooking uncover and allow liquid in pan to evaporate. Serve chicken hot, accompanied by fried potatoes or ghee rice, and garnished with the browned onions.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)