Aarti Paarti Ep. 27: "I Ain’t Chicken" Chicken!

Posted by Aarti on October 15th, 2009 . Filed under: Uncategorized .

What an odd day it’s been. I started writing this post about how this recipe celebrated my choice to live bold, about how the phrase had entered my consciousness a couple of years ago, and how it had led, through baby steps like taking improv classes, designing my first original recipe, going to Burning Man for the first time… to finally shooting this little engine-that-could of a show, and finding my purpose in life.

It was, I realise, going to be a bit of a celebration of myself.

But I’m realising that for all the trumpets I have been playing for myself, for all the parades I’ve thrown myself in my head for being so bold, for all the ways I am grateful for the changes He’s worked in me, I have stumbled big time. I have let people down. I have ignored the plight of others because I’ve been so obsessed with my own. I may have been bold, but only in the pursuit of what made ME happy. When it came to other people, I was chicken.


Sorry guys! Usually, these little show intros are upbeat and funny, but I’m feeling a bit introspective today.

Oooof! Well, let’s disband this pity party and focus on the recipe, shall we? WOW!

This is a simplified version of the “I Ain’t Chicken” Chicken recipe that I wrote two years ago. It’s a milestone of a recipe, because it was the first original recipe I’d ever written.

This version uses just chicken breasts, on the bone, and it’s flavoured with cardamom, orange and fresh ginger. It’s a fresh, innovative combination I think — reminiscent of Middle Eastern tea time flavours I think. I love this technique because everyone gets a juicy, flavourful chicken breast and it’s done in just 40 minutes! So much quicker than roasting an entire chicken.

Take a look:

“I Ain’t Chicken” Chicken
Roasted Crispy-Skin Chicken Breasts with Cardamom-Orange-Ginger Butter

2 big russet potatoes (optional)
2 chicken breasts, on the bone, skin intact, preferably kosher
1 tbsp butter, softened but not melted
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
Zest of one large orange
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
Handful minced fresh parsley
Salt & pepper

1) Turn oven to 500 degrees fahrenheit/260 degrees celsius, gas mark 10. Grab a broiler tray, and line the bottom with aluminium foil. If you like, slice some potatoes about 1/2″ thick, and throw them in there, tossed with a little olive oil and salt. Place slotted tray over the top.

2) Pat chicken dry with some paper towels. Poke a small opening in that clear membrane between the skin and the flesh of the chicken breast. Glide your index finger through the opening, loosening the skin from the flesh, without removing it completely. You’re creating a big pocket in which the butter will sit! Repeat with the other chicken breast. Set aside.

3) Wash your hands thoroughly.

4) In a small bowl, combine butter, ground cardamom, orange zest, ginger, parsley, salt and pepper (about 1/2 tsp of kosher salt if you’re using a kosher chicken. Use more if it’s a regular chicken). Stir together with a spoon until well mixed.

5) Place a spoonful of the butter mixture through the opening you made in the skin of the chicken breast. Once it’s in there, smooth out the butter by gliding your finger over the skin, until it’s evenly distributed. Repeat with the other breast.

6) Place chicken breasts on broiler tray. If you wish, drizzle skin with a little oil, for extra crispy skin. Throw the whole shebang into the oven, and roast for about 40 minutes, turning once halfway through the cooking time. Relax, sip a glass of wine, bask in the crackling sounds of butter and comforting smell of roasted chicken on a rainy day!

7) Check the breasts about 30 minutes in, just in case. A meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast, but not touching the bone, should register about 160 degrees F when it’s cooked. Pull them out at this point, tent with foil and allow to rest about 5 minutes.

7) Using a fork and sharp paring knife, slice breast off the bone, and serve alongside some sauteed spinach and a dollop of Indian shredded mango pickle. Yum!


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44 Responses to Aarti Paarti Ep. 27: "I Ain’t Chicken" Chicken!

  1. alanda

    A lovely recipe and story. Thank you for sharing. Keep being so brave!

  2. mandi

    Wow! Aarti, this is your best yet! Cute and quirky, loved the four square shots, and the brine text! Question: If you don't brine, should you salt/pepper the skin? Or I think I should ask the opposite…If you DO brine, would you need to salt additionally? I've gotten lately into roasting whole chickens. I want to give this recipe a whirl with the whole bird!

  3. aartilla the fun

    thanks guys!

    mandi — let's see. yes, if you don't brine then make sure there's a healthy amount of salt in the butter, and after i drizzle the extra oil over the skin, i usually salt and pepper it too. if you want to roast the entire bird, i would recommend butterflying it; less cooking time, and everything cooks evenly. that's actually how i got this technique in the first place: a cook's illustrated recipe for butterflied roasted chicken.

    if you're not sure how to butterfly it and don't have a cooks illustrated password, here's a link to a video:


    this is

  4. Jodi

    Aarti – I LOVE love love the new site! Congrats. It’s beautiful.

  5. Divya

    Hey this is cool Aarti! I love the title bar, very nicely done Aarti’s sis :)

  6. Eric

    The reason the chicken or any meat is juicier with the bone in is because of all of the tissues between the meat and the bone. Collagen, cartilage, and other connective tissues basically melt away and baste your meat from the inside.

  7. Aarti

    wow! that makes a lot of sense. thankyou eric!

  8. waitiaste

    Other variant is possible also

  9. Смирнов

    Кажется, это подойдет.

  10. Ossietra Kaviar

    Flavorful recipe! ;). I like studying this web log. Where did you buy this beautiful web log template from? Remembrance from hamburg.

  11. Lilia Dean at Growing Apple Trees

    Howdy, I really enjoyed this post. I’m starting up a blog website and making somewhat varied content. Do you object if I write something about this? I will of course give you and this post due acknowledgment and place a link to this page :).

  12. Christina Richardson

    You are so friggin cute!!! I love your videos and tasty recipes! I made your fish tacos last night and I think I will try this one next. I am watching Next Food Network Star and googled your blog right away. You rock!

  13. Theresa Cooper

    I would love to make the Indian shredded mango pickle with this meal! Do you have the recipe on your website? Thanks Aarti! You are a huge inspiration and I hope you are the new Food Network Star!

  14. Shima

    I will surely try this out this week, I love your engery! Keep up the great receipes! :) You make cooking fun!

  15. Becky

    Hi Aarti,
    Did you grind just the seeds from the cardamon or the shells also? (I’m a rookie!)

  16. Tyler

    I love your cooking! I have been watching you on the food network star and really hope you win. I love cooking and would love to try cooking Indian style cuisine! I think you are a natural in front of the camera. I am excited to try this dish and your fish tacos. I have been scared to try fish tacos but my husband loves them. Yours sound so good, I am willing to give it a try. Good luck! I will be rooting for you! Tyler

  17. Rosemarie Thornton

    Oh my Gosh! You are so adorable!! I love your show and I first saw you today online at Food Network, because I hadn’t watched the show before. Then I googled your name, (BECAUSE I SO THINK YOU SHOULD WIN THE FOOD NETWORK SPOT!!!) and am so Praying for you to win! Blessing, Rosemarie

  18. Cheryl

    Congrats on your win Aarti!! So proud to see a fellow Indian’s success. Best wishes for you and your husband for the future! I’m going to send your blog to my mom and sister!

  19. Lindsqy

    Congratulations Aarti!!

    I just watched the finale of the The Next Foodnetwork Star and I can’t wait to see Aarti Paarti! I am also in love with your blog and can’t wait to catch up on all the shows and blog posts!!

    Much love,

  20. Chas


  21. Patrick Dolan

    I just made this dish for my family and it turned out great! The chicken was nice and crisp on the outside and juicy in the middle. I had larger chicken breasts at over 1 lb each and used a thermometer to make sure it got hot enough (about 10 extra minutes). At first I wasn’t sure that cooking at 500F would do well, but it sure did – thanks. The fresh ginger and orange zest sure make the house smell great. I also added some russets underneath the broiler pan and they were yummy.

    I really like how you take Indian spices and blend them with American fare to create exciting dishes that we can make with our hectic schedules. We live all the way up here in Fairbanks, Alaska and need some of that flare to survive the long winters….lol. Keep on cooking and sharing Aarti!

  22. Carmen

    Great recipe. My partner said it was the best chicken breast he ever ate! And I agree! The new potatoes were creamy inside and crispy outside also. Delicious! Thank you Aarti! Loved you on Next Food Stare!

  23. Rebecca A

    I was checking out your site last night and stumbled across this recipe and decided that I must try it out. Imagine my surprise when I got to see you make it on TV when I got home from church this morning! My husband agreed that it looked great, so we will be trying it soon. Congrats on everything going on in your life right now!

  24. Cynthia

    How do you prepare this without smoking up the kitchen? Thanks

  25. Karen

    We had to fan all three smoke alarms in the house, but the chicken turned out amazing. So good, in fact, that my vegetarian partner ate it up! One discovery we made was throwing some sweet potatoes in with the red ones. The orange zest and cardamom blend with the sweetness perfectly!

  26. Stefanie

    Chicken tasted delicious but my house is full of smoke from the oven roasting. How can I prevent that? That’s the only thing that would stop me from doing this recipe again. Maybe I should try cooking it on the grill.

  27. Cynthia

    Anyone think we’re going to get a response here? I saw a lot of folks complain about this on the foodnetwork, but no response there, either, which is a shame. With so many folks having the issue, Aarti should address it. We didn’t get to see the chicken actually cooking on the show. It’s discouraging.

  28. KarenB

    Seriously – Aarti/Food TV, please respond. My whole house filled up with smoke. My convection oven was at 475. The chicken tasted good, though. I served it with basmati rice and made a rich, cornstarch-based gravy from the chicken drippings to go on top.

  29. Shoshi

    This chicken sounds great, despite its ability to set off smoke alarms. You are right: kosher chicken is brined, actually salted to make the meat kosher by extracting all possible blood. My only problem (as a Jewish cook) is that we can’t mix meat and milk at the same meal, so putting butter under the skin is a no-no. Could I just rub olive oil on the meat under the skin pockets? I’m just a beginner in Aarti land, so please forgive. I did try your massaged kale and fed forty with a giant, fragrant tub of it. Thank you so much. We all loved it.

  30. dana

    If you are going to bake at 500 degrees the oven has to be super clean or else your whole house will be full of smoke.

  31. Deb

    I made this recipe last night, it was wonderful!!! The whole family loved it! I did not use as much cardamon and added fresh garlic to the butter paste. Chicken was delicious and I had no problems with smoke in my kitchen with my oven at 500 degrees. Keep the recipes coming, looking forward to making more of your dishes!

  32. Kristin

    Ah Aarti! As I suspected your online show is SOOOOO much better than the FN version. This version of your roasted chicken is much more informative and entertaining than the lush sets but abbreviated prose of te FN version. And the lovely stories and attention to detail that accompany the version you and Brendon did. I have faith though. You’ve just broken through to network and have these six shows to just show a little of your ‘stuff’. I am a big Alton Brown fan and his first shows were more vanilla as well. They got progressively more fun and artistic. I have great faith that yours will too. You have a good following for starting off and if you can get extended episodes you have an opportunity to bring a much more creative sensibility to your FN work that you have already shown in your blog show. Just keep bringing the heat!

  33. Jennifer

    It’s odd that people were having such trouble with smoke while making this recipe! I had absolutely no problems! And I have to say, it was DELICIOUS. Actually, I made it for my boyfriend and he is quite the picky eater. He rarely branches away from Americana, Italian, and Hispanic foods. So imagine my surprise when he not only ate it, but RAVED about it. So thank you for giving me recipes that allow me to introduce him to a whole other school of flavor! I’m really excited to see where life takes you and where you take all of us!

  34. 23 Fabulous Cooking Blogs I Love to Read

    [...] always smiling and she’s always sharing something this side of ingenious. Check out her “I Ain’t Chicken” Chicken for a sample of her unique [...]

  35. Kathy

    Hi, Aarti,
    I watched the Next Food Network Star religiously, and was SOOO happy that you won! As a Food Network addict, I know there is no other show that features Indian food, something I have recently discovered. I absolutely love your show and your very sparkly personality – what a great show to watch and learn from!

    I watched your latest episode (“Fancy Pants”) and am dying to make the vanilla and peppercorn brined pork as well as the crispy potatoes and rice pudding, but for some reason, everytime I try to access these recipes via the Internet (Food Network or otherwise), the Internet crashes. I’m wondering if it would be possible for you either to post these recipes on aartipaari.com or to email the recipes to me.

    Thanks so much! Keep on doing what you are doing!!


  36. Ruth

    Hi Aarti!
    I made this today … my first ever of your recipes and we all loved it! Thank you!

  37. Elise

    This is one of the first recipes of yours I made from watching your show. Thanks for coming to visit Pittsburgh today! My daughter and I loved the demo!

  38. Shira

    I LOVED this recipe! I followed it almost exactly (I also added some lemon zest and a squeeze of juice from the orange) It was so easy to make but it came out really amazing :) thank you aarti!

  39. Rebecca Nisco

    can you make this without the ginger? Will it taste just as good?

  40. Pam F

    De-fricken-licious. The combo of cardamom, ginger, orange and chicken rocks. Never cooked anything at this high temp before and, yeah, smoked the house out, but loved the crispy skin result. Mine were done in half an hour. From what I’ve been reading I think the range/oven used makes a difference. It seems like lots of home ovens don’t like 500F. In my cheap apartment range the back burners got so hot they smoked even though they were off!. Inside the oven, it looked like the chicken fat is what smoked. I had just cleaned my oven so nothing residual in there to cause any problems. I baked on a wire cooling rack over a foil lined cookie sheet (no potatoes). Next time I’ll try adding high smoke point oil (safflower) to the cookie sheet so the chicken fat will be diluted and hopefully not smoke. Maybe that is what the potatoes can help with, absorbing the drippings so they don’t smoke. Use fresh cardamon pods. It’s a little work to crush the seeds but the difference between freshly ground and pre-ground cardamom is night and day. Don’t be afraid to generously salt and pepper! Nummy!!

  41. Dorothy

    The recipe sounds great. I will most definately try it.

  42. Jennifer

    Im sure I could do this with skinless,boneless if thats all I have, but any variations I should make? Time, temp, butter amount? Thanks!

  43. Christine

    My husband just made this dish (I couldn’t get home in time to start dinner – so he man’ed up) this was outstanding! We can’t wait to try out some more of your dishes.

  44. Reginald O. Smtih

    I’ve recently started a website, and the information you offer on this site has helped me greatly. Thanx for all of your time & work.
    Wow! This could be one of the most helpful blogs we have ever come across on the subject. Actually great post! I am also an expert in this topic therefore I can understand your hard work.

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