Tandoori Cornish Game Hen is my favorite way to enjoy these tender young chickens!
What are Cornish Game Hens?
Going by the name, these birds aren’t Game birds (as game birds are hunted and taste ‘gamey’) nor are they completely ‘Cornish’. Although it’s called a Hen, the bird can be a male or a female.
In 1950s, two different bird breeds were cross-bred to create a single serving size chicken with short legs and a plump breast, less than 2 pounds in weight; that would be ready for slaughter quickly (in 5 weeks).
Cooking with Game Hens
Game Hens are usually un-boned and it’s mostly roasted whole. Barbecuing can be an option as well. In North America, they are thought as food for a fancy dinner.
One bird is usually an individual serving and accompanied with roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes or salad.
Apart from its small size, it has a distinctive tender meat that quickly absorbs flavors from a spice rub or a marinade!
I generally use Tyson Premium Cornish Hens that are widely available in the freezer section of most groceries.
I like experimenting with ingredients and spices and tried a bunch of different spice rubs with Cornish Game Hens before deciding to go the Tandoori way 🙂
By far, I think my Tandoori marinade compliments tender white meat and high temperatures the best! Well, at least that’s our opinion.
Young whole chicken are marinated with a yogurt marinade (with spices) and roasted at high temperature in an oven. I like serving it with sliced lemons and a fresh salad side.
A fancy, wholesome & cozy recipe for a weekend meal!
If you like the recipe or make Cornish Game Hen, please be sure to leave a comment. Above all, I love hearing from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe and decide to post, please be sure to tag me on Instagram or Facebook!
You might also like: Chicken Tikka Kebab, Chicken Shami Kebab, Chicken Seekh Kebab
Tandooori Cornish Game Hen
- 1 Cornish Game Hen Skin removed (optional)
- 3 tbsp plain yogurt beaten
- 1 tbsp Ginger garlic paste
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 3/4 tsp Red chili powder adjust this based on your spice preferrence
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Chat Masala available at Indian grocery store or speciality spice stores
- 1/2 tsp 'Kasuri Methi' or dried fenugreek leaves, crushed (available at Indian grocery stores or speciality spice stores)
- 1/2 tsp Black pepper
- Salt to taste
- 4-6 drops red food color optional. This will not impact the flavor of the recipe.
- 3 tbsp Fresh Lemon juice
- 3 tbsp Coconut oil or any cooking oil
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Take the chicken out of the package and clean the cavity. Pat it dry with a paper towel.
- Remove the skin of the bird and cut 4 to 5 long slits. I removed the skin to let the marinade stick better to the bird while roasting. You can leave the skin on as well.
- Make marination mix with coriander powder, cumin powder, red chili powder, 'kasuri methi', turmeric powder, garam masala powder, red color, salt, chat masala, black pepper, lemon juice and 1 tbsp oil and mix well with beaten yogurt.
- Apply it all over the chicken making sure to apply well between all the slits and cavity.
- If you are leaving the skin on, make sure to apply the marinade below the skin as well (as you would do with a dry spice rub).
- Let it marinate for 1 hour.
- Grease a roasting dish/ pan with 1 tbsp of oil. Transfer the marinated bird to this dish, drizzle remaining oil and cook in oven for 40-45 minutes till the chicken is tender.
- 30 minutes into cooking, flip the hen and bake for another 15 mins.
- Remove the hens and transfer to a serving dish.
- Drizzle lemon juice, if desired and serve with a fresh seasonal salad side. Enjoy!