Dijaj Bialhayl – دجاج بالهيل
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!
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
- Take a pot, put the chicken in, and add 6 cups of cold water and the vinegar to refresh the flavour of the chicken.
- Drain the water, transfer the chicken to a bowl and set it aside.
- Add olive oil in the pot.
- Turn the fire on to medium high.
- Add the onions, carrots, salt, and spices, and sauté for 2 minutes or so.
- Add the pieces of chicken, and cook until the meat turns white – you don’t want to see pink colour in the meat.
- Add the 5 cups of boiling water, the tomato paste and the tomatoes.
- Stir well to dissolve the tomato paste in the water.
- Increase the fire to high and bring the mixture to a rolling boil, uncovered.
- Reduce the fire to medium and simmer with the lid on, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes.
- Turn off the fire.
- Transfer the pieces of chicken to a flat tray and set aside to cool, uncovered for about 15 minutes.
- DO NOT discard the broth.
- 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.
- Put the pieces of chicken in a container just large enough to hold them and cover with some of the reserved broth.
- If you don’t serve it right away keep in the fridge for the following day. It does taste better-next-day, this one.
- 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. 🙂