A taste of the Middle East: part two

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

It’s a been a year since the Arab Spring, but tourists have been slow to return to Tunisia, Egypt et al. For those of you who consider the Middle East off limits, it’s still possible to have a taste of the region. Here Greg and Lucy Malouf, share their recipe for grillled saffron chicken with lemon, chilli and mint. Mmmmmm!

Grilled saffron chicken with lemon, chilli and mint

This is a slightly spiced up version of a Persian favourite. To the standard saffron lemon combination, we’ve added a rather un Persian touch of chilli and a mixture of dried and fresh mint.

It’s a brilliant way to liven up what can sometimes be a bland white meat. Serve with a rice or couscous dish and creamy yoghurt dressing to take the edge off the chilli heat.

Ingredients (serves 6)

800g boneless free – range chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
Sprigs of watercress and wafer- thin slices of French radish to serve (optional)
Rice or couscous, flatbread and lemon wedges to  serve

1 cup loosely packed mint leaves
2 long red chillies, finely chopped
1 dried red chilli, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
50 ml olive oil
2 tablespoons Saffron Liquid (page 218)
Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
Generous pinch of dried mint

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic crushed with 1/2   teaspoon seasalt
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
200 ml thick natural yoghurt
Squeeze lime juice

Cut the chicken thighs into large chunks and put in a large bowl. Combine the marinade ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and whiz to a paste. If you prefer, you could, of course, do this by hand using a mortar and pestle. Pour the marinade over the chicken pieces and toss to coat thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

To prepare the yoghurt dressing, heat the oil in a small frying pan and fry the garlic paste gently until soft but not browned. Stir in the turmeric and fry for 5 minutes then remove from the heat and cool briefly. Stir into the yoghurt with a squeeze of lime juice. Set aside until ready to serve.

When ready to cook, preheat your barbecue or griller to high. Grill the chicken for 2–3 minutes on each side, or until lightly charred and good and sticky. Alternatively, you can cook it in a stove-top chargrill pan.

Arrange the chicken pieces on a serving platter, garnish with watercress sprigs and radish wafers, if using, and serve with lots of yoghurt dressing.


Malouf: New Middle Eastern by Greg and Lucy Malouf is published by Hardie Grant, £30, Hardback.

For the low-down on how to make some tasty Turkish Delight florentines, don’t forget to log onto the CD-Traveller website tomorrow!

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