Siba's Bongo Chicken

Siba Mtongana cooks up a Congolese chicken dish that'll have your mouth watering. Think juicy spatchcocked chicken cooked with thyme, brown sugar, chilli, allspice and cinnamon. For an extra colourful plate, serve with beetroot wraps.




  • 1x 3.8 kg free-range whole chicken

For the brine, mix:

  • 1.5 litres water
  • 2 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 T sea salt
  • 50 g sugar
  • 2 star anise
  • 4 T peppercorns
  • 4 sprigs thyme

For the bongo paste, mix:

  • 3 T spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 T dark brown sugar
  • 1 t ground allspice
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 T fresh thyme
  • 2 T fresh parsley
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 t chilli flakes
  • 4 T olive oil


1. Place the chicken on a board and cut out the spine using scissors. Press down firmly to spatchcock. Place in a 4-litre capacity dish. Pierce all over using toothpicks.
2. Pour the brine over the chicken and allow to stand for at least 4 hours or overnight in the fridge.
3. Preheat the oven to 200°C and lightly grease a roasting pan with cooking spray. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry using kitchen paper. Place in the roasting pan.
4. Rub the bongo paste all over the chicken. Cover with foil and roast for 30 minutes.
5. Remove the foil and roast for a further 20 minutes, until cooked through.

Cook’s note: The chicken’s cooking time depends on its size, so adjust it if necessary.

(Serves 6)