Degi Chicken Steam Roast takes me back to my childhood, when wedding functions in Lahore used to be held in open gardens or canopies nearest to the bride’s and groom’s place and food was cooked on the adjacent street in tents.

The catering people and the cook ( called Nai) would arrive in the morning, block the street at both ends, so that the traffic wouldn’t disturb their cooking activities, and would set up huge, heavy metal cauldrons or degs for cooking the feast over open fire.

One of the close relatives, an experienced uncle or cousin, would supervise the cooking because it was a matter of family pride that food came out perfect and every guest went back home with a full belly.

It was a time when banquet halls and expensive hotels hadn’t taken over the wedding scene yet. Nobody in the neighbourhood seemed to mind the disturbance back then. In fact people looked forward to a wedding to enjoy the food and a week long festivities. The aroma of that food spread far and wide, actually guiding the guests to the location of the wedding.

One of the traditional dishes on the menu used to be Degi Chicken Steam Roast. The name given, of course, due to the big cauldron or degs these whole chickens or big pieces were cooked into for hundreds of guests. The chicken slow simmered in the steam created by its own juices and the marinade till fall-off-the-bones tender.

Served with dried plum chutney and naan, it used to be a dish to die for! When wedding parties moved to fancy places, good old Degi Chicken Steam Roast was replaced by fine dinning too. The experts who cooked it, then started selling it as a popular street food as it makes perfect meal-on-the-go with a piece of chicken and some salad wrapped in a flatbread.

At our place it’s a favourite weekend treat. Not only it’s possible to create the same nostalgic taste at home on stove top but is also very easy and hassle free to do. The best thing is it’s low in calories with almost no added fat, other than a little oil used to grease the pan.


Skinless Whole Chicken or Cut into four pieces ( 2kg)
2 teaspoons salt or to taste
2 teaspoons red chilli powder
2 teaspoons coriander powder
2 teaspoons Cumin powder
4 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
5-6 cloves
1 stick cinnamon
8 cloves Garlic
1 inch piece Ginger
4 tablespoons plain Yogurt
1/4 cup white Vinegar
1 tablespoon olive or sunflower oil

This Is What You Do:

Mix salt, red chillies, cumin, coriander, sesame seeds, turmeric, garam masala, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, garlic and vinegar in a food processor. Whizz to make a smooth paste.

Add this paste to yogurt and mix thoroughly. Make slanting cuts in the fattest parts of the chicken with a sharp knife. If using whole chicken, rub some of the marinade inside the cavity and pour the rest over the chicken. If using four pieces, thoroughly rub the marinade all over them, specially inside the slits.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Or you can do it overnight to save time.

Take a deep pan with heavy bottom. Grease the pan lightly with oil. Place the chicken in the centre, pour the marinade over it. Seal the mouth of the pan completely with a sheet of foil paper. Cover with a lid so that no steam escapes at all. Cook on low heat for 60 to 90 minutes, depending on the size and weight of the bird.

Remove the lid and foil sheet carefully because there will be hot droplets gathered over the foil sheet and very hot steam inside. Poke the fattest part of the leg to check if the juices run clear.

If there is still liquid in the pan, increase the heat to medium high and let the liquid dry out while basting the chicken with it 2-3 times.

Serve hot with fresh salad, your favourite chutney and naan or pulao.

Serves 4

14 Replies to “Degi Chicken Steam Roast”

  1. Tried this recipe last week, it turned out mouthwateringly good! Making this again this week for a dinner dawat at home. Thanks for sharing!

    1. How wonderful! 😊😊 Thank you so much for this fabulous feedback, Crystal!
      Hope your guests will enjoy too.
      Have a great party! 💐

  2. Dear Maria
    Thank you so much for your lovely recipe,I have tried and it’s marvelous. Best wishes from paris,france

    1. Bless you, Janaka! Read your comment right at the start of the day and your lovely feedback made my day! Thank YOU! 😊😊😊

    1. Dear Saima, this recipe will absolutely work for as much chicken as you want to cook. I used it for a bird slightly over 1 kg, so you can multiply the ingredients according to that, except for red chillies and cinnamon. Double them at first, tastes the marinade, if you find it lacking in heat and punch, add a little more.
      Also use a really big pot to cook so that chicken pieces can get cooked evenly and don’t break up.
      Happy cooking! 😊

      1. Maria,
        The recipe says 2 kg but your comment above says 1 kg. Can you please confirm. Thanks

        1. Thank you for stopping by the blog, Abdullah! Cooking with 2 kg chicken will give you a medium spiced roast (the way most people like theirs, especially families with kids and my readers from the West). If you like it spicy, then I would suggest this quantity of spices would be perfect for 1.25 to 1.5 kg of chicken.
          Happy cooking!

  3. Hi maria
    Just wanted to know do we use roasted cumin seeds,coriander powder and seasame seeds or plain one just as they are????i remember the roast in weddings use to be brownish in colour while mine one was very whitish☹️Any suggestions or tips plz???

    1. Haha! 😄 Can you believe it? though I cook it at least once a month because my whole family loves it too!
      Maybe it was some telepathic message you sent me that made me post this recipe finally 😁
      Hope you’ll enjoy, dear Myeda! 💕

  4. I have been trying to make deghi steam roast since the day I laid my eyes on this recipe,but somehow it never happened.But today I made dishes with three of your recipes,Aloo baingan(finger licking good),Deghi steam roast(aroma was killer)and my all time favourite Testi Kebab.Needless to say that I am on a high(never been on a high but the expression seemd apt:). Keep making foodaholics world over.Cheers

    1. Wow Myeda! I woke up today with a headache and the day had been going slow. Read your sweet comment and boom! Headache…what headache ?
      You made my day girl! THANK YOU ??
      I’m over the moon to know that you have been cooking so many of my recipes and enjoying them too ?
      Bless you my friend! ??

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