An Unconventional Thanksgiving Feast for Two – Butterflied Roasted Chicken with Spiced Butter Rub + Sweet Potato Mash

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It’s that time of the year again. My Pinterest feed is full of Thanksgiving and holiday ideas and recipes. I’ve read that a turkey roast is expected of any Thanksgiving meal. However, it still baffles me how anyone can get a Thanksgiving feast done on time as it takes days to defrost that giant bird and another few hours to brine and roast it. Such a gargantuan task!

Though I’m not familiar with the American tradition of Thanksgiving and am very afraid of roasting an entire turkey, I’d still like to share in the tradition of feasting. And so I share with you my not-so-traditional mini-feast for two (because my oven isn’t large enough for a turkey) – Butterflied Roast Chicken with a Spiced Butter Rub and Sweet Potato Mash with Crispy Onions. It doesn’t take hours to defrost, brine and roast but it does feed a couple or three persons well. Butterflied chicken roasts much faster than a whole chicken and so this is also a perfect weeknight meal as it does not need much preparation nor constant checking. curry roast chicken and sweet potato mash 02

The high roasting temperature for the first twenty minutes creates a crisp skin. Flavouring the chicken with a spiced butter rub lends a mild curry flavour to chicken and keeps the chicken juicy. The naturally sweet mash compliments the spice notes of the roast chicken and is such a cinch  to make. If pressed for time, you could leave out the garnish but if you’re trying to impress your guests then go all out! I love the taste, texture and colour the crisp onions, chillies and curry leaves add to the dishes and yes, curry leaves are edible.

You may use a whole chicken instead but just make a little more of the spice rub for the chicken cavity. If you’re afraid of setting off your smoke alarm ( as mine went off) dump a big scoop of salt crystals beneath your roasting rack to prevent the smoke. The overnight air drying in the fridge and placing the chicken on a roasting rack makes for crispier chicken. If you do not have a roasting rack, place the chicken over some large chunks of carrots and potatoes so that the meat juices drip off. You could buy an already butterflied chicken or just use your kitchen shears to cut off the backbone. There’s no gravy for this roast but I reckon some cranberry jam would be pretty delicious with the curry flavours.

Now, who’s with me for feasting on this crisp, juicy butterflied roast chicken and wonderfully smooth sweet potato mash?

Butterflied Roasted Chicken with Spiced Butter Rub

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print
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  • 1 kg roasting chicken, butterflied
  • 90-100g ghee/unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tbsp madras curry powder/meat curry powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder (optional)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced / 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt


  1. For an extra crisp skin, pat dry and lightly salt a butterflied chicken and then, air dry in your refrigerator without any plastic wrap/foil for at least 4 hours or overnight. This is of course optional.
  2. Remove chicken from fridge and let it come to room temperature.
  3. Preheat oven to 200°C/390°F. Pat dry chicken skin.
  4. Soften butter/ ghee and mix curry powder and sea salt with butter/ghee until evenly mixed. Set aside the spiced butter rub.
  5. Using your fingers, gently separate the skin from the entire breast meat without tearing the skin. Spread about half of butter/ghee and curry powder mix evenly under skin. The easiest way is to push a lump of butter under the skin and smoothen it out with your hands by pressing lightly over the skin. Spread half of the remaining spiced butter rub over the rest of the chicken.
  6. Sprinkle some sea salt over chicken and roast in oven for 20 minutes
  7. Using a brush or the back of a spoon, spread the remaining spiced butter rub over the chicken while it is roasting.
  8. Reduce oven temperature to 180°C/350°F and continue to roast chicken till cooked thoroughly, about 20-25 more minutes.
  9. To check for doneness, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh meat, not touching the bone, and the meat juices should run clear or your meat thermometer should read close to 75°C/165°F.
  10. If your chicken is still not crisp, increase your oven temperature and broil it on the highest rack for about 5 minutes. Keep a watchful eye on it as it may overcook or burn quickly.
  11. Remove the chicken from the oven when it is almost done and leave it to rest for 20 minutes to continue cooking.
  12. Top of crispy onions, chillies and curry leaves and serve with sweet potato mash.

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Sweet Potato Mash with Crispy Onions

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

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  • 800-900g garnet, orange sweet potato
  • butter/ghee
  • salt to taste


  • large red onion, thinly sliced
  • fresh red chilli, thinly sliced diagonally
  • 1-2 stems curry leaves


  1. Boil sweet potato in a large pot of water until you’re able to easily pierce the thickest parts of the root with a fork/skewer.
  2. Drain and set aside to cool.
  3. When is cool enough to handle but still warm, remove the skin. They should easily tear off when fully cooked.
  4. Immediately mash the peeled sweet potato and add spoonfuls of ghee or butter and salt. The residual heat from the sweet potatoes should melt the butter/ghee and the mixture should be smooth and lump free.
  5. For the garnish, in medium fry pan, fry the sliced onions in ghee/butter over a low flame. Once they start browning, immediately remove with slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
  6. For the red chillies, fry till they start wrinkling and remove immediately. For the curry leaves, fry in the same pan till the leaf edges start to curl. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
  7. Top sweet potato mash and butterflied roast chicken with fried onions, chillies and curry leaves. Drizzle some of ghee/butter used for frying over the chicken and sweet potato mash just before serving.

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I’m bringing this dish to Fiesta Friday #95  hosted by Loretta and Petra. Click on the link to view other wonderful recipes.

21 Comments Add yours

  1. Linda says:

    Looks tasty! (And a great spin on the Thanksgiving meal!) 🙂

    1. Vasun says:

      Thanks Linda!

  2. ranu802 says:

    Thank you for these delicious recipes. I sure want to try. 🙂

    1. Vasun says:

      Thanks !

  3. Loretta says:

    Welcome to Fiesta Friday. What a wonderful spin on the traditional Thanksgiving turkey. I imagine with those gorgeous curry flavors this chicken had to be a winner! I know what you mean about roasting an entire turkey, it does take a lot of time doesn’t it? Today, I’ve ordered a fresh turkey, so will be picking that up, so no defrosting or taking too much room in the refrigerator. I love the crispy onions too, thanks for bringing this to the Fiesta. Happy thanksgiving 🙂

    1. Vasun says:

      Thanks Loretta! I didn’t know you could get fresh turkey. That’s a game changer… I’ve only seen frozen ones. Eager to know how your roast turkey and thanksgiving feast turned out.. 🙂

    2. Vasun says:

      Thanks Loretta! Fresh turkeys would definitely be a game changer. Sadly, I’ve only seen frozen ones. Eager to know how your roast turkey and thanksgiving feast turned out…. 🙂

  4. Tasty and yummy! I too want to try 😀

    1. Vasun says:

      Thanks Sid! I do hope you give it a go…

      1. Yes, I’ll try to cook this receipe for my guests to celebrate the socalled Christmas Dinner 😀

  5. petra08 says:

    This is just lovely! I think chicken has more flavour than turkey and I would love this for Thanksgiving or any other time! 🙂

    1. Vasun says:

      Thank you! I’ve never had a whole roasted turkey but the turkey slices I’ve tasted were so bland and dry. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Michelle says:

    Oh, I love that you did a spin on Thanksgiving! Perfect. Turkey is vastly overrated. We always do chicken instead, iconoclasts that we are.

  7. Vasun says:

    Thanks Michelle! I saw your FB post … Iconoclasts you are! How did turkey become a thanksgiving staple in the first place? Did the pilgrims have so much time and resources? Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. Angie says:

    Very nice, Vasun! I’m excited about that air-drying method! That is just brilliant!

    1. Vasun says:

      Thank you Anjana! Hope you had a wonderful time with your family during the Thanksgiving holidays 🙂

  9. This looks super delicious!!! Yummy I just wish I could grab a leg off right now 🙂

    1. Vasun says:

      Sorry for the delayed response. Thank you! I hope you try out the response so that you could grab as many chicken pieces as you want

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