Syrian Chicken
sunnah food
sunnah food

Syrian Chicken

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  • 2  tbsp  olive oil
  • 2 lb / 1 kg chicken thigh fillets , bone in and skin on (4 to 5 pieces) (see notes)
  • Chicken Spices
  • 1  tsp  cumin powder
  • 1  tsp  cinnamon powder
  • 1  tsp  salt
  • Black pepper
  • Sauce
  • 1 1/2  tbsp  fresh ginger , finely chopped
  • 3  garlic cloves , minced
  • 1  onion  , halved and finely sliced
  • 2  birds eye chilis , finely chopped (or to taste) (see notes)
  • 1/4  cup  (combined) mint and coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2  tbsp  lemon juice
  • 14 oz / 400 g canned crushed tomato
  • 1  cup  chicken stock / broth
  • 1/8  tsp  saffron powder  (see notes)
  • 1/2  tsp  cumin powder
  • 3  sprigs of thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4  cup  dried currants or sultanas (optional) (see notes)
  • To Serve
  • 8 oz / 250 g giant couscous  (Israeli or Pearl Couscous)
  • Yoghurt (optional)


    Prep Time: 15 mins
    Cook Time: 30 mins
    Total Time: 45 mins
    This is a simple but exotic dish of chicken with a spiced crispy skin baked with a rich tomato broth. It is served with Giant Couscous (also known as Moghrabieh, Israeli or Pearl Couscous) which can be substituted with ordinary couscous, pasta (risoni/orzo), rice, polenta or even mashed potato.
    Course: Dinner
    Cuisine: Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Syrian
    Servings: 4 - 5
    Calories: 636 kcal

    Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
    Place chicken on a plate or in a large bowl. Sprinkle with Chicken Spices and use your hands to coat the chicken.
    Heat olive oil in a large, oven proof fry pan over high heat.
    Add chicken, skin side down, and sear until the skin is nicely browned. Turn chicken over and cook the other side until browned. Remove chicken from pan. Drain pan of excess oil.
    Add onion, garlic, ginger and chili into the pan. Saute for 2 minutes until the onion is translucent and starting to brown.
    Add canned tomato, chicken stock/broth, saffron powder, cumin powder and thyme. Bring to simmer, then turn the stove off. Nestle the chicken into the tomato broth, then cover with foil (or lid) and place into the oven. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes.
    Meanwhile, cook the Giant Couscous according to packet instructions. Usually it just needs to be boiled in salted water for around 4 minutes, then drain it.
    When the chicken is dark golden brown and cooked, remove from oven. Stir through dried currents (if using), lemon juice and half the mint and coriander. Then sprinkle over remaining mint and coriander.
    Serve on Giant Couscous with a dollop of yoghurt, if using.

    Recipe Notes:
    I really encourage you to make this with skin on, bone in chicken thigh fillets. I know it isn't as healthy as skinless and that bone in meat is not as easy to eat, but the crispy skin is one of the highlights of this dish and bone in meat is always juicier.
    You can substitute the birds eye chili with 1/2 to 1 tsp chili powder (adjust quantity to your taste).
    Giant Couscous (also known as Moghrabieh, Israeli or Pearl Couscous) is available in the pasta section alongside ordinary couscous in most large supermarkets. You can substitute with ordinary couscous, pasta (risoni/orzo), rice, polenta or even mashed potato.
    The proper way of making this is with saffron threads. However, I use saffron powder because saffron threads are really expensive (it's the most expensive spice in the world!). You can substitute the saffron powder with a pinch of saffron threads.
    I made the currants / sultanas optional because I am not the hugest fan of dried fruit in savoury food and I think that this dish has dust a strong flavour anyway that it isn't necessary. However, the traditional way of making this in Syria includes currants.
    Nutrition per serving.


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