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Middle Eastern roasted chicken recipe

Photo: Middle Eastern roasted chicken
Time: 1-2 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Serves: 4
Special options: Kid-friendly, Egg-free, Dairy-free

This is a really easy dish to prepare, using aromatic spices common in Middle Eastern cooking.Dry-roasting the spices is an essential step as it helps to bring out their full flavour.


2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cassia
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 preserved lemon
4 garlic cloves
60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) olive oil
Pinch of saffron threads
1.6 kg (3 lb 8 oz) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1/2 cup coriander (cilantro) leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves
Extra virgin olive oil, to serve


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Place the cumin, coriander, caraway and fennel seeds in a small frying pan over low heat and cook until aromatic. Transfer the spices to a mortar and pestle, add the cayenne, ginger, cassia and salt, and pound to a fine powder. Set aside.

2. Remove the pips, flesh and pith from the lemon. Discard the pips and pith. Slice the rind into thin strips and reserve for a garnish. Add the lemon flesh and garlic to the spice powder in the mortar and pestle, and pound to a smooth paste, adding the olive oil gradually and then the saffron.

3. Place the chicken pieces in a large glass or ceramic bowl, add the spice paste and rub it into the chicken using your hands.

4. Line a roasting pan with non-stick baking paper. Put the chicken, skin side up, on the lined tray. Roast for 20 minutes, basting occasionally with pan juices to develop a good colour and crust. Bake for a further 20 minutes or until cooked through and golden.

5. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Toss the coriander, mint and reserved strips of preserved lemon together. Sprinkle over the chicken and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.

Adopted from Good Food

More from the Lebanese Recipes Kitchen:

Lebanese Rice with Chicken (Riz 3a Djeij)
Traditional Bahraini Chicken Machboos
Spiced Lebanese Pine Nuts and Raisins Rice with Turkey  
Spicy chickpea rice “kedreh”  
Chicken Beryani    
Chicken Majboos  

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