Roast Chicken with Turmeric and Spices

Poultry Recipes

The quest to have a collection of easy and flavorful roast chicken recipes continues.

I definitely have been on a roast chicken kick lately. I love the crispy exterior, but tender interior, and flavorful roast chicken. Now, the goal is to have a few different versions. So I play with the seasonings each time I roast. Last month I did a dry-rub with rosemary and thyme. This time, I’ll do a wet-rub with turmeric and other spices!

My recipe below is inspired by a traditional Javanese yellow fried chicken or ayam goreng kuning (the yellow coloring comes from turmeric). When you travel to Java Island, this is the kind of fried chicken you’d find at local restaurants. The chicken tend to be much smaller, so flavorful and aromatic, crispy on the outside but so tender in the inside. It is usually served with white rice, some green vegetables, and chilies. I am a huge fan!

For my version though, I opt out of frying and choose to roast instead. I find roasting to be a lot “friendlier” than frying on many levels. With roasting, I get to just place the chicken in the oven, set the timer, and leave it alone for a while. Also, I would not have to deal with the oil splattering onto my skin, my clothes, and my whole kitchen. Less mess, less stress. Most importantly, roasting does the job. The chicken comes out with that beautiful golden color and the crispy and tender texture that I expect.

So here’s how we do it. We will need:

  • A whole chicken (cut up into 12 pieces—I like smaller cuts)
  • 5 shallots (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger powder
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • An inch of galangal root (smashed)
  • One lemongrass (the white part only, smashed)
  • You may substitute the galangal root and lemongrass with lemon zest and juice from two lemons.


  • In a large and deep cooking pan, boil 3 cups of water, and then turn the heat off.
  • Add all of the spices into the water and mix it well. Let it cool down. Taste and add salt if necessary.
  • Place the chicken into the spice mixture.
  • Once the liquid is cool enough, using your clean hands, rub the chicken with the spice mixture. Make sure that the chicken is well coated. (Would be good if the chicken is submerged.)
  • Cover with a lid and store in the fridge overnight or at least half a day.


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Place chicken on an oven rack set on top of a tray (to collect the juices)
  • Cook for 40-45 minutes (until chicken temperature reaches 165 degrees F).
  • For golden color on the outer part, I turn on the broiler and let the chicken brown for 2-5 minutes. To avoid charring, leave the oven door slightly ajar (a couple of inches) and please don’t wander off too far 🙂
  • Serve with rice

Serve 4 generously

2 thoughts on “Roast Chicken with Turmeric and Spices

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