Clay-Wrapped “Beggar’s Chicken”

Find out more about an ancient method of preparing chicken with just clay and fire


Crack open the hardened shell and enjoy the cooked chicken

Hita Prakash

Imagine making a chicken dish using just banana leaves, clay, and fire. Does that sound impossible or impractical? Ask Bharath Yadav.

This ex-techie from Bangalore and an ardent cook loves experimenting with various methods of cooking and playing with ingredients to create new dishes.

Wrap the marinated chicken in banana leaf

He doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty, which is how he ended up cooking with clay. ‘Is is a simple way of cooking which requires a few hours of hard work and patience to savour the most juicy, healthy chicken with earthy aroma,’ he said.

Cover it with a semi-solid paste of clay and water which is ¼ inch in thickness

This ancient method of preparing food, which is believed to have originated in China, is not yet a common practice in urban India. Legend has it that a beggar once stole chicken from a farm land. Having no utensils, he decided to cook the chicken in this manner and found that the meat was tender and aromatic. Hence this method of preparing food came to be known as “Beggar’s Chicken”. The recipe can change according to the imagination of the cook. To find out how to prepare the meat, refer to the box.


Ingredients for the masala:

• 2-3 tbsp ghee

• 2 tbsp paprika powder (or chilli powder)

• 6-8 crushed garlic cloves

• ½ tbsp Italian seasoning

• ½ tbsp dry thyme

• 1 lemon

• 2 tbsp honey

• Salt for taste


1. Use a knife to make tiny cuts on the chicken.

2. Smear the mixed paste on the chicken.

3. Marinate for an hour.

Light a fire, placing the semi-solid clay egg at the centre for 2-3 hours

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