Recipe: Syrian Chicken

This week The Hungry Babushka is going on a cultural food journey! From last night’s (lingonberry-less) Sweedish meatballs, tonight we move to the Middle East with this beautiful dish that is served at the Healesville Hotel in regional Victoria. With flavours inspired by Syrian cuisine this chicken is the perfect mid-week meal – quick and easy! But don’t mistake quick with bland – the spices in this dish really pack a punch with big, bold flavours perfectly mellowed out with a generous dollop of natural yoghurt.

Syrian Chicken
Serves 4

1 1/2 tsp each ground cumin and ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
8 chicken thigh fillets
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
4cm piece ginger, grated
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 long red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 cup (250g) chicken stock
Small pinch saffron threads
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
3 thyme sprigs
1/3 cup (50g) currants
1/4 bunch each coriander leaves and mint leaves, roughly chopped
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
Moghrabieh (giant Lebanese couscous), cooked to packet directions
Thick Greek-style yoghurt, to serve

Preheat oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan).

Combine the cumin, cinnamon and turmeric in a bowl. Season, then add chicken and toss to coat.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a casserole dish over med-high heat. Add half the chicken and cook, turning, for 5 mins or until golden. Remove and set aside. Repeat with remaining 1 tbsp oil and chicken.

Add onion to casserole dish over medium heat and cook for 2 mins or until softened. Add ginger, garlic and chilli, then cook for a further 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add tomato, stock, saffron, cumin seeds and thyme, then cook, scraping bottom of pan with a spoon, for 2 mins, Return the chicken to the casserole dish, then cover and transfer to the oven. Cook for 35 mins or until chicken is cooked through and tender.

Stir through currants, sprinkle over herbs and lemon zest and juice, then serve with moghrabieh and yoghurt.

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