Our basic cooking method course has a whole class dedicated to chicken recipes and I thought why not share my favourite snippets from that class for a list of easy chicken recipes to get you started.
Chicken can be cured, roasted, boiled, smoked, slow-cooked, grilled and baked. You can cook this versatile protein bone-in, or boneless, whole or minced, the possibilities are endless!
Let’s start with the basics…
Boiling Chicken The Arabic Way Vs. The French Way 🙂
What you need:
1 chicken either whole or cut into 2/4/6/8 pieces
1 litre Water warm
2 tbsp salt
4 peeled garlic cloves
1 onion, cut in half
2 bay leaves
4 cardamom pods
2 allspice (whole)
2 cinnamon sticks
To wash your chicken, you’ll need:
- Wash chicken thoroughly with salt, lemon and flour by scrubbing the flour all over the chicken, then toss a handful of salt onto it and start scrubbing with a lemon cut in half (Salt acts as an abrasive that effectively cleans the chicken)
- Rinse with cold water and pat dry with a single-use paper towel
- In a pot, add a bit of olive oil and add your spices. Then add the chicken to sear, and follow by adding half an onion, bay leaves and garlic
- After the chicken has been slightly cooked and browned from the outside, add some boiling water just enough to cover the chicken and bring it to a boil for 5 minutes
- Add salt and pepper, and let it simmer for 45 minutes while skimming the froth from the top until the liquid is clear
- Drain the chicken and reserve the delicious stock for other dishes
- If you have our Beit Sitti stock mix on hand, make sure to add a teaspoon for an extra flavour kick
Interesting Foodie Fact!
The French use something called mirepoix, a mix of vegetables used to add to the flavour of the stock, including carrots, celery, and zucchini – in addition to a bouquet garni, which consists of dried herbs wrapped in wire, to be removed later.
We Arabs don’t do that. We usually prefer the flavour of plain chicken stock. Also, our spices are very fragrant so they add intense flavour to the stock. After boiling chicken, you can use the stock to make stews like Mulukhiyah and Fattet Djaj.
Fattet Djaj Recipe
- Wash the rice 3 times until the water is no longer milky
- Soak the rice in cold water for 30 minutes (or hot water for 10 minutes)
- In a pot, boil 1 ¼ cup of water (or chicken stock) for each cup of rice and add some oil and ½ a tsp of salt
- Place the pot on high heat for 5 minutes until the water starts to evaporate, then lower the temperature to very low and let it simmer for another 15 minutes. Serve hot.
The pita bread:
4 cups flour
2 cups warm water
1 tbsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
- In a cup, mix half of the warm water with the sugar and yeast and let the mixture rise
- Mix the flour and the salt together then add the wet ingredients gradually and start kneading
- After the texture of the dough becomes soft, leave it in a warm place for around 20 minutes to rise
- After the dough has risen, form small balls and press slowly down on them to flatten
- Preheat your oven to a high temperature
- Put the bread in the oven and wait for it to rise, then let it boil for 2 minutes
Putting it all together:
- Cut up small pieces of bread and deep fry them until golden brown (don’t use olive oil when frying)
- Place the fried pita croutons on a paper towel to drain the oil
- Line a deep bowl with pita bread then add some chicken stock (just enough to make the bread moist)
- Add a layer of rice (you can add some garlic for extra flavour)
mix some crushed garlic with salt and yoghurt and layer it on top, then add some roasted pine nuts on top for garnish
After learning how to boil chicken and how to actually implement a recipe using boiled chicken, here’s a list of healthy, easy chicken breast recipes. You can grill it or bake it. Or both.
Quick Chicken Breast Recipes
Chicken breast can be cooked either boneless or bone-in, either way, the trick is to marinate it ahead of time for the most flavour. Leaving the chicken breast to soak in the marinade overnight will give you moist, flavorful pieces that will leave everyone asking for seconds.
These are quick easy chicken recipes that have been tried and tested many times, of course, feel free to add your touch whenever you feel the need.
Shish Tawouq Marinade:
4 tbsp yoghurt
2 tbsp ketchup/tomato paste
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp allspice
4 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp honey
Grandmother’s Chicken Marinade:
4 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp yoghurt
1 tsp sumac
Mustard Balsamic Chicken Marinade:
2 tbsp mustard
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp paprika
- Marinate the chicken overnight in a ziplock bag or airtight container then season with a little bit of salt and pepper. If you can’t marinate it overnight, leave it in the mixture for as long as possible.
- Drain the juice and sear the chicken in a pan for 2 minutes until a caramelized crust forms. Finish it off in the oven for 15-20 minutes on medium heat.
And now for the grand finale, Djaj Mahshi. Stuffed chicken (Djaj Mahshi) is the Jordanian version of stuffed turkey and no Christmas is complete without this dish on the table.
Follow this recipe for a Mediterranean Christmas from the region where the actual birthday boy himself was born.
Djaj Mahshi Recipe:
1 whole chicken
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp mixed spice
1⁄4 kilo ground meat
2 cups rice (1 cup medium grain and rice 1 cup American rice)
- Soak both kinds of rice in cold water for 30 minutes
- Clean whole chicken with vinegar, water, lemon and flour and scrub 2 times until fully clean and rinse, then pat dry with a single use paper towel, and place in the fridge
- Finely chop onions and sauté in oil until transparent
- Add the ground meat to the onions and let them cook
- Add cinnamon, black pepper, salt and mixed spices to the meat and keep stirring on low heat until the meat is cooked
- Add pre-soaked rice to the meat and mix well
- Immerse in chicken stock put on high heat until the water evaporates from the surface, then lower the heat and let the rice cook slowly for around 20 minutes until half cooked
- Season chicken with salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon, then rub with a clove of garlic and stuff with onion, bay leaves and a portion of the half-cooked rice (Cook the other portion separately)
- Put the chicken in an oven bag or tray and cover (if you are going to cover with foil, make sure you put oil on the foil so that it doesn’t stick to the chicken)
- Leave the chicken in the oven for an hour, then remove and brown
- Use the stock/chicken pan drippings as your sauce and add the rest of the cooked rice around the chicken
- Top the dish with almonds and pine nuts
- Serve it with a side of yoghurt and cucumber salad
A little tip: you can use ghee or butter instead of olive oil, but I prefer olive oil to keep it light for my kids