Saffron chicken with freekeh

For a wholesome, flavoursome dish - try this recipe from cookbook author and restaurateur Zahra Abdalla. It's a great mix of Levantine, Palestinian and Persian flavours
Saffron chicken with freekeh
ITP Images
Saffron chicken with freekeh
Zahra Abdalla
ITP Images
Zahra Abdalla
March 03, 2020
Level Easy
Preparation Time 10 minutes (plus soaking time)
Cooking Time 40 minutes
Serves 8
PHOTO BY Murindie Frew
RECIPE BY Zahra Abdulla


350g freekeh
1 tsp spinneysFOOD Fine Cinnamon
1 tsp 7-spice powder
1 tsp spinneysFOOD Fine Turmeric
½ tsp spinneysFOOD Fine Black Pepper
2 tsp spinneysFOOD Fine Salt
8 chicken legs (thighs + drumsticks)
2 medium onions, diced
1 spinneysFOOD Cinnamon Stick
2 spinneysFOOD Cardamom Pods
2 tbsp spinneysFOOD Mediterranean Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp spinneysFOOD Ginger, minced
1 tsp spinneysFOOD Garlic, minced
Pinch of ground saffron
1 tsp rose water
750ml chicken stock
150g mixed nuts
Handful of spinneysFOOD Fresh Parsley, roughly chopped


  • 1

    Soak the freekeh in water for about 1 hour, drain and keep aside.

  • 2

    To prepare the dry rub, combine the spices and salt.

  • 3

    Wash the chicken and pat dry. Coat the chicken with the rub and leave to rest.

  • 4

    In a large shallow cast iron pan, sauté the onions, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods in the olive oil. Fry until the onions turn translucent.

  • 5

    Add the ginger, garlic and freekeh. Mix everything together. Continue to stir until the freekeh is slightly fragrant and toasted.

  • 6

    Layer the chicken over the freekeh mixture.

  • 7

    Add the saffron and rose water to the chicken stock, and pour the liquid over the chicken and freekeh. Bring to a boil, then cover and leave to simmer on a low heat for about 40 minutes, or until the freekeh is fully cooked

  • 8

    Remove the pot from the heat, garnish with the nuts and parsley and serve.


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