Julia Busuttil Nishimura's Fragrant Roast Chicken With Mango Salad

Julia Busuttil Nishimura (aka Julia Ostro) is back today, with her first seasonal recipe of 2020. Today, she shares an innovative way to put all those delicious mangos to excellent (and perhaps unexpected) use –  fragrant roast chicken accompanied by a zesty mango salad.

Oh, and in case anyone was feeling like they were going slightly mad, YES Julia has had her baby! We took these pics just before she welcomed her new baby boy, Yukito Floriano Busuttil Nishimura! Congrats Jules, Nori and Haruki – and welcome to the world Yuki! May your life be filled with excellent snacks!

Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Ingredients ready for Julia’s recipe fragrant roast chicken accompanied by a refreshing mango salad. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Make sure mangos aren’t overripe to avoid mushy mango when cut! Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Julia advises slicing the mango cheeks into three long pieces. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Garlic and lime for a zesty chicken marinade. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Tip: butterfly the chicken (or get your butcher to do it for you!) for extra crispy skin. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Be sure to marinate the chicken for at least two hours, but preferably overnight. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Julia Busuttil Nishimura
21st of January 2020

One of the greatest joys of summertime is eating a mango whilst bent over the kitchen sink, juice dripping down your hands as you savour every last bit from the fibrous stone. As soon as they start appearing in the shops from late November, I am compelled to buy them. They are incredibly fragrant and such a fleeting fruit of the season. I usually eat them as they are, or sometimes cut up with a drizzle of fresh cream for dessert. Alternatively, they make a wonderfully refreshing salad, as I’ve done here. Inspired by a meal I once ate on a Thai beach on a scorching hot afternoon, this roast chicken dinner is really easy to prepare and incredibly delicious.

The key to this recipe is getting the chicken and marinade all sorted the night before – the food processor will do all the work for you. That means when it comes to dinner time, you barely need to think or lift a finger to get a wonderfully satisfying meal together. I’ve also had much success cooking this chicken on the BBQ, so if that’s your thing, then definitely take the cooking outdoors.

While the salad I ate in Thailand used green mango, the sweetness of this ripe mango paired with the lime and ginger is a really lovely alternative. Just make sure your mangoes aren’t too ripe, otherwise cutting them nicely will be a real bother.

On cutting a mango, there are countless ways to do this, but the way I find the easiest is to cut the cheeks off either side of the stone then cut each cheek into three, lengthwise. Take your knife and slowly cut the flesh away from the skin of the mango. Then cut any remaining mango away from the stone and repeat.

Butterflying the chicken means it is much easier to marinate, cooks quicker and is easier to get a crispy skin. To do this, turn the chicken breast-side down and using kitchen scissors or a large knife, cut down either side of the spine to remove the backbone. Turn the chicken over and flatten with the palm of your hand. A butcher will easily do this for you if you can’t manage it at home. We eat this at home with steamed Jasmine rice, but for a lighter meal, simply serve it as it is.

This salad was inspired by one that Julia ate on a Thai beach years ago. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Roast chicken with a refreshing salad! Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

JULIA’S Fragrant roast Chicken with mango salad (Serves 4-6)

1 whole chicken (approximately 1.5kg), butterflied
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup Chinese cooking wine or saké
1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, roughly chopped
Handful  of coriander stalks
Juice of a lime
4 cloves of garlic
White pepper, to taste
Sea salt, to taste

Mango salad
2 mangoes, peeled and cut into large slices
Large handful of coriander leaves, plus extra to garnish
1 red shallot, halved and finely sliced
1 red chilli, finely sliced
2 tbsp roasted peanuts, plus extra to garnish

Juice of a lime
1cm piece ginger, finely grated
1 tbsp brown sugar
1tbsp sesame oil
Sea salt, to taste
Steamed jasmine rice, to serve
Lime wedges, to serve


Pat the chicken dry with paper towel and place in a non-reactive bowl or container. Place the remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth. Pour over the chicken, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but ideally overnight, turning the chicken once or twice as it marinates.

Remove the chicken from the fridge and preheat the oven to 200C.

Arrange the chicken, skin side up, into a shallow roasting tray and pour over half of the marinade from the container or bowl. Pour 1/4 cup water into the base of the tray and roast in the preheated oven for 55 minutes – 75 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through and burnished in parts. About halfway through, pour the remaining marinade onto the chicken. In the final 15 minutes, use spoon the juices from the tray onto the chicken every 5 minutes to encourage a nice dark colour.

 Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes then cut into 8 pieces.

Meanwhile, for the salad, arrange the mango, coriander, shallots and chilli in a serving bowl. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and season to taste. Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and scatter over some peanuts. Scatter extra peanuts and coriander over the chicken and serve with extra wedges of lime, the mango salad and steamed jasmine rice.

What else I’m cooking with…
East Gippsland garlic available at Georgie’s Harvest, South Melbourne Market. They bought 300kg of the stuff from East Gippsland farmer Justin Dykes, a grower affected by the bushfires and are selling it onto the public. It’s really good and an easy way to show your support.

What I’m eating…
The Cardamom buns at newly opened Falco Bakery in Collingwood.

You can follow Julia’s food adventures on Instagram and find more fab recipes via her website

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