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Lebanese Chicken with Cardamom and Cumin

Dijaj Bialhayl – دجاج بالهيل

Cuisine: Lebanese
Region: Common

The Lebanese Chicken with Cardamom and Cumin is similar to an Arabic dish called Kebsah but with a lot of twists. This recipe tastes better the next day, so, feel free to cook it in advance, store it and serve in the following day or two with a different side dish. Enjoy!

Serves: 4
Cooking time: 40 to 60 min
You need: a pot, a bowl and a container


  • 1 whole chicken, about 2.5 Kg or 4.5 Lb, cut into 10 pieces with the skin on
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1+1⁄2 cups diced yellow onion
  • 1⁄2 cup peeled and shredded carrot
  • 2+3⁄4 Tsp sea salt
  • 1⁄4 Tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3⁄4 Tsp ground allspice
  • 1⁄2 Tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/8 Tsp ground cloves
  • 1/16 Tsp ground nutmeg
  • 5 cups (glasses, about 1 Liter) boiling water
  • 1/3 cup (glass) tomato paste
  • 3⁄4 cup peeled and diced tomato


Rinse the chicken

  1. Take a pot, put the chicken in, and add 6 cups of cold water and the vinegar to refresh the flavour of the chicken.
  2. Drain the water, transfer the chicken to a bowl and set it aside.


  1. Add olive oil in the pot.
  2. Turn the fire on to medium high.
  3. Add the onions, carrots, salt, and spices, and sauté for 2 minutes or so.
  4. Add the pieces of chicken, and cook until the meat turns white – you don’t want to see pink colour in the meat.
  5. Add the 5 cups of boiling water, the tomato paste and the tomatoes.
  6. Stir well to dissolve the tomato paste in the water.
  7. Increase the fire to high and bring the mixture to a rolling boil, uncovered.
  8. Reduce the fire to medium and simmer with the lid on, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes.
  9. Turn off the fire.
  10. Transfer the pieces of chicken to a flat tray and set aside to cool, uncovered for about 15 minutes.
  11. DO NOT discard the broth.
  12. After 15 minutes remove and discard the skin of the chicken. You may want to discard some chicken bones too – that’s your choice. Just don’t discard the centre bone from the thighs or drumsticks.
  13. Put the pieces of chicken in a container just large enough to hold them and cover with some of the reserved broth.
  14. If you don’t serve it right away keep in the fridge for the following day. It does taste better-next-day, this one.
  15. It can be served at room temperature (if you live in the Middle East) or warm or hotter – depending on your taste.


  • Pita Crisps with Sumak is a good one. For the recipe click here.
  • Rice with Raisins and Almonds is another good one. Click here.

Notes on the Lebanese Chicken with Cardamom and Cumin

  • Keep the broth for something else. E.g. you could make some really good rice with it. 🙂

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