Topkapi Tales: Possibly a Mediterranean Roast Chicken legs recipe

roast chicken

I know that calling something a ‘Mediterranean roast chicken’ is as banal as calling something an ‘Indian fish curry’.

This dish was very simple to cook. Rather tasty and I suspect healthy too. The condiments used were largely Mediterranean or Arabic. I thought I should share it.

We eat so much chicken at home that one has developed a certain degree of confidence about cooking it. Ideally pork is what I would like to play around with. To get to know better. I’d rather experiment and create with pork rather than chicken though. One can’t because of health reasons. Perhaps I should do that whenever I feel like and then tweet for people to be guinea pigs and come and finish the pork.

But I digress. Here’s the roast chicken recipe:


  • Cut some slices of onion and place it on a baking dish. On top of that put slices of potatoes (optional plus doesn’t cook in time) and cover those with chopped vegetables. I used chopped sweet corn, carrots, button mushrooms, tomatoes and olive. You can use whatever.
  • So you have a bed with three layers. The veggies are to be eaten with the chicken and would be flavoured in the juices of chicken,
  • Place 2 chicken legs on the vegetable bed (leg and thighs joined). Slit the surface of the chicken so that the flavours go in
  • Rub on the spices on to the chicken after this. I used black pepper powder and two Turkish Arabic spices…sumac & zatarpita. A friend’s brother got these from Dubai. I have seen these spices at Nature’s Basket Bandra
  • I then wrapped the chicken with fresh herbs – basil & oregano (I had all these herbs and chopped vegetables from the previous day’s soup ingredients) and salt
  • I then doused this with a liberal dose of balsamic vinegar (1/2 a tea cup) and put it in the fridge for about six hours


  • Brush the exposed side of the chicken with olive for the glaze
  • Preheat the oven for 10 min at 200 C
  • Put in the tray with chicken
  • Roast at 200 C for 35 min (no need to cover in between. the potatoes won’t cook though so just act as a stand)

The end result is that of a succulent and well flavoured chicken and the goodness soaks on to the veggies too.

Note: The programme I shot for sometime back airs on the Travel Channel US.

Street Foods International

World travelers know that eating street food is the best way to get a taste of a city's culture. From traditional, to gourmet, to adventurous, we'll explore the street eats that give unique flavor to seven cities across the globe. TV-G, CC

I did the Mumbai part of the episode. I haven’t seen it myself so hope it turns out OK…I’ll get to know once I get the DVD


yummy chicken roast! You are on TV too ? Nice!
Kalyan Karmakar said…
Yes Somoo...can't wait to see it myself :)
Aditi said…
Saw you yesterday on Travel Channel!! You were great but I am sure you must have spent a whole day shooting for it, was sad that they had to sum it all up it 10 mins. Nonetheless congratulations on your TV debut!! :)
Kalyan Karmakar said…
@Aditi: so ten minutes it was. Thanks so much for writing in. I got a hang from a few who wrote in this morning that they did see me :)

We shot for two days but I sort of knew of the ten minute thing a they did 7 cities
Chetna said…
Kalyan !! Just a small doubt about the spices. Zaatar contains Sumac. You have used Sumac by itself and Zaatar in the recipe.
Could you clarify about this ?
Kalyan Karmakar said…
Chetna as far as I know sumac is the purple coloured powder which is added to yogurt based salads while zatarpita is brown and has a traditional masala colour
Marie said…
Hi. Kalyan. Congrats on your TV debut. May there be many more shows. Can we have a link of your 10 mins of fame :) . Couldn't catch it on tv.
Minnie said…
Hey, thanks for this recipe, I tried it out and it was so good! (although it didn't look as good as in the pictures).

have a nice day :)
Kalyan Karmakar said…
@Marie...thanks...waiting for the DVD and wil try to upload it then

@Mayte: thanks for writing in...well it is a good photo& the lighting worked well :) as long as it tasted good
Miri said…
Looks amazing! You could just parboil the potato slices in water for 5 minutes or in the microwave before putting into the oven - that way they would be cooked and golden and crispy by the time the chicken was done
Miri said…
Also, Chetna is right, sumac is one of the ingredients (it's a powder made from dried sumac which is a purple berry like fruit) of zatar which has other ingredients like sesame and thyme etc
Kalyan Karmakar said…
Miri thanks for the tip on the potatoes (though i was happy skipping them from a health pov) and the info on sumac....i didn't know it was made from berries
Kaushiki said…
I somehow cannot manage it - I prick the chicken with a toothpick if water gushes out means it is not cooked. The toothpick has to pass cleanly.

This does not happen in the said time and the said temperature. Please help with this.

Kalyan Karmakar said…
Hi Kaushiki, I just checked the post - 35 min at 200 C definitely works for fact nowadays I do it just for 30 min at 2000 C...specially if it is a dry marinade
This recipe has a similarity in the way we prepare foods here in Thailand. We use lots of spices to bring out the full flavor of the chicken.
SMS Thailand