The Birthplace of Patakha Chicken:

This Nathiagali Patakha Chicken Roast recipe is exactly the kind that leaves behind plates licked clean! Now you must be wondering about the Nathiagali and Patakha part in the title. Nathiagali is one of the most popular tourist hillside towns in Pakistan and one of the most picturesque too. This very moist, juicy and flavoursome roast is a speciality of the place. It is believed to be the brainchild of Muhammad Azad who runs Taj Mahal restaurant in Nathiagali. He created this recipe back in 1971 and since then it has become the most coveted culinary attraction of the place.

The Unique Name:

The local food of Pakistan’s northern areas is simple and not spicy at all. This recipe for Patakha Chicken Roast has originated to please the tastebuds of tourists mostly visiting from urban Lahore and Karachi. Patakha means firecrackers . It clearly hints towards the level of heat in the dish which mostly comes from fiery garnish of red chilli flakes on the cooked chicken.

Originally this sizzling hot roast is deep fried for a crispy outside and enticing colour. I either bake it covered or let it simmer in its own juices in a deep pot till the chicken is done and then broil it.

This recipe was recently requested by a friend and that’s when I realized I need to put it up on the blog. It means lovely memories of holidays spent in the cloudy, foggy hillside and outdoor hot and spicy meals. You will never go back to eating bland roast after you have tasted this ever again!

Make Your Own Garam Masala for the Recipe:

Garam masala or the ubiquitous dried spice blend used almost in every savoury recipe from the Indian subcontinent is a handy ingredient to have in your pantry. To make your own garam masala mix, click here . Because there is nothing like homemade!


1 whole chicken or cut into four pieces
(1+1/2 kg)
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons red chilli flakes or to taste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon green cardamom powder
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon Garam masala (spice mix)
2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
1 cup thick yogurt
2 tablespoons ghee(clarified butter), olive or coconut oil

This Is What You Do:

Pat dry chicken, make deep insertions on thickest part of meat.

Toast cumin, coriander and red chilli flakes on a skillet or frying pan briefly till aromatic.

Mix ghee, yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, salt, cardamom powder, turmeric powder,garam masala, half of the roasted cumin, coriander and red chilli flakes. Save the other half for garnishing.

Rub this masala inside the cavity and allover chicken. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or better over night.

Lightly grease a deep oven proof dish. Place chicken. Cover with a lid or foil paper sheet.

Bake in a preheated oven for an hour on 180 degrees C. Uncover the pan and bake another 10 minutes or till the roast takes on a nice golden colour. You can also place it under the broiler for 4-5 minutes to get the charred effect.

You can also cook it on stove top in a deep pan. Cover the pan and cook on low heat in its own juices till all liquids evaporate and chicken is done.

Serve immediately with the remaining roasted spice seasoned over the chicken or on the side as an option.
Serves 4

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