Sri Lankan spicy Baked Chicken (c) Kim Lightbody

Sri Lankan baked chicken

  • serves 4
  • Easy

This is a take on a classic Sri Lankan dish that's been westernised for home cooks. Traditionally, cooking in the country is done over heat, but this recipe is baked in the oven


This Sri Lankan chicken recipe comes from Sri Lanka: The Cookbook (£20, Frances Lincoln) by husband and wife team Prakash Sivanathan and Niranjala Ellawala, both born in Sri Lanka to Tamil (Prakash) and Sinhalese (Niranjala) families. For many years the couple ran a Sri Lankan restaurant in North London and they now work as cookery teachers. Photographs by Kim Lightbody

Find out more about Sri Lankan food in Prakash and Niranjala’s guide.



  • chicken thighs 8, skinned


  • onion ½, quartered
  • garlic 5 cloves
  • ginger 1.5cm piece
  • chilli powder 1 tbsp
  • ground cumin ½ tbsp
  • ground coriander ½ tsp
  • ground turmeric 1 tsp
  • black peppercorns 5
  • soy sauce 2 tbsp
  • caster sugar 1 tbsp
  • vegetable oil 90ml
  • tomato ketchup 4 tbsp
  • lime ½, juiced
  • sea salt 1 tsp
  • bay leaves 2


  • Step 1

    Put all the marinade ingredients into a food processor and whizz until you have a coarse paste. Put the chicken into a shallow ovenproof dish and pour over the marinade. Mix well, cover and marinate for 30 minutes.

  • Step 2

    Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Cover the dish with foil, poke several large holes in it and bake for 60 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the sauce has reduced.