Friday, 5 January 2018

Moroccan Chicken


Have you ever got excited after watching a video that you immediately spring into action? I'm talking cooking video here, so don't get any funny ideas.

While researching how to roast a whole chicken, specifically the way the angmohs do it, I came across AlmazanKitchen on Youtube.  

Here the cooking is done in the wild using wood fire and the close up shots of the food absolutely kills. If you don't believe me, watch this Ultimate Moroccan Chicken video and tell me you are not sold.


So I made a note to buy chicken thighs on my next supermarket run. Unfortunately, I did not do a stock check on my dry whole spices as I had run out of coriander seeds. 

Instead of whole spices (which would have made the dish super awesome) I made do with ground spices which I suspect may be past due (the aroma was not as intense).


The chicken is coated with a dry spice rub before being pan fried. I reckon the meat could benefit from being marinated overnight and that was what I did.

I simply combined the ground spices and rubbed aromatic mix onto the thighs and placed them in the fridge (something AlmazanKitchen can't do since they are in the wild).

The next day, these were taken out from the fridge to stand to room temperature. I waited until the chicken was no longer cold to the touch and shallow fried them in my cast iron pan.

Once they skin was golden brown, I removed the chicken from the pan and added sliced onions. My pan is not big enough to accommodate all the chicken thighs and the onions, hence I had to cook them in batches.


When the onions were brown at the edges, I added chopped garlic and continued to fry the onions until they were wilted and almost brown.

I had to stop there to transfer the onions, oil and all into my brand new Dutch Oven. I probably could have done all that frying in the Dutch Oven but the cast iron pan has a bigger flat area and is more suitable.

As the onions sizzled, I added a cup of crushed tomatoes, brought it to a boil and then added the fried chicken. I lowered the heat and brought it to a simmer.


Since I am not using free range chicken (which is tougher), I simmered the dish for only 30 minutes. That's when I realized that the chicken released so much water that the gravy was very diluted. That's the problem with our local commercial chicken. They suffer from water retention, an affliction I am familiar with.

So I removed the chicken, added another cup of crushed tomatoes and simmered the gravy until it was thick. I also added some dried figs since I did not have any dried apricots on hand.


I'll have to say that the chicken tasted every bit as gorgeous as it looked on AlmazanKitchen. Tender succulent chicken full of exotic flavors coated with an aromatic tangy sauce, I was so impressed.

I wished that I had added the figs much sooner as they would have softened, broken down and contributed some sweetness to the dish.

I also believe that this is a dish that would benefit from sitting and would taste even more amazing the following day. Well, I ate one thigh (look at my self restraint) and the rest I kept in the freezer.

This recipe is a keeper and I would not hesitate to have another go, but with toasted and ground whole spices which would elevate the flavor profile to greater heights.


Moroccan Chicken
Recipe source : Adapted from AlmazanKitchen

Note : I used ready ground spices as I did not have any whole spices on hand. Recommended to use whole spices, toasted and pounded.

Ingredients :
- 6 chicken thighs, cleaned and pat dry 

Dry spice rub, mix together :
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 2 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp sea salt

Extra spices for the gravy :
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp salt 

- 2 cups crushed tomatoes
- 2 big onions, sliced
- 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 8 dried figs (or apricots)
- Italian parsley for garnishing (optional)

Method :
1. Coat the chicken thighs with the dry spice rub.
2. Leave in the fridge overnight to marinate.
3. Before cooking, take the chicken out of the fridge to come to room temperature.
4. Heat oil in pan and shallow fry the chicken until golden brown (need not be cooked through as we will be simmering it in sauce).
5. Remove fried chicken and set aside.
6. In the same oil, fry the sliced onions.
7. When onions are browned at the edges, add chopped garlic.
8. When onions are wilted and browned, add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil.
9. Return the fried chicken to the pan (including pan juices), add dried figs and simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes until chicken is tender and the gravy is thick.
10. Adjust for seasoning and serve.
11. Garnish with chopped Italian parsley if you wish.

36 comments:

  1. Sedap! Can I have some white steaming rice with it, thank you! :P

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  2. That looks absolutely stunning. We had Moroccan rice with grilled chicken here once but the African closed shop when they wanted to increase his rent and I heard he is not keen on setting up his business elsewhere seeing how the economy is not so good.

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    1. I think this would go really well with savory rice like nasi minyak

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  3. Sometime I do get attracted and keep in mind to try the recipe when watching the cooking show.

    Your Moroccan chicken looked beautiful. Never try thay before.

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    Replies
    1. I want to cook it again since I enjoyed it so much!

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  4. I will gaze in awe of your Moroccan chicken (I think you've made Morrocan chicken before? I remember reading it sometime ago) since it needs so much spices (which I don't have nor will buy as I hardly cook and it'll go to waste). Yes, I agree with you that our local chickens release a lot of water and, through experience, I've learned to reduce the amount of water I put in too (like when cooking curries) until I see how much water seeps out from the chicken.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I made one before but that Moroccan chicken was a roasted chicken. This one is loads better. I used to cook curry often enough which explains why I had those spices :)

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    2. Haha, that's the difference between me and you...you make your own spice paste for the curries...mine comes from a packet...kekeke! :D

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    3. hah..hah... I use currry powder and add dry spices for more oomph! Geez... when was the last time I cooked curry hmmm... must cook some soon :)

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  5. "Tender succulent chicken full of exotic flavors coated with an aromatic tangy sauce" - sounds so delicious! I feel like eating it now. Wow! you are going to be a roast chicken masterchef now.

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    Replies
    1. It was really tasty, feel like cooking it again soon.

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  6. Looks so yum. My kind of dish. Usually, I'm half way through an action when I realise I need some you tube assistance ;-)

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  7. PH, if u come up with a cookbook, I will sure purchase the book...

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    Replies
    1. But will you cook or not? hee..hee...

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  8. This Moroccan chicken looks tasty. Are they similar to Chicken Curry Kapitan?

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    Replies
    1. Very different from Curry Kapitan. Which reminds me I haven't cooked that for a long time!

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  9. this looks faaaaaaaaantastic! you make me wish i could cook, so i could cook this tomorrow! and i don't think i know any restaurant in KL that does this exact dish ... and if it did, i'm not sure it'd be satisfying as yours (summore use chicken thigh, my favourite part) :D

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    Replies
    1. I am sure you can cook if your tried hee..hee...

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  10. Oh my, those photos made me drool all over my keyboard lah, PH!

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  11. My answer to that bag of chicken thighs in my freezer. Doing this for dinner tar. Thanks!

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  12. I will be carried away after watching food video. Your photo is really making me hungry. I am keeping this video, maybe one day I will try if I can find the time.

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    Replies
    1. Hope you try it as it is really delicious!

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  13. Indeed very appetizing! Can go with rice or bread anytime....

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  14. Hai PH, sori lama tak singgah sini. So bizi with the school.
    Wow, your ayam Moroccan look so stunning, yummy!

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    Replies
    1. No worries, ticer. I know you busy :)

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  15. No need to watch the video, your photos are enough to make me drooling~~~ Ah, u are using your new pot!

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  16. Hi Phong Hong, your Morrocan Chicken looks very tempting and I can imagine the tangy taste and thick gravy. I believe it would tastes even better if you use free range chicken which actually gets tender and chewy quite fast. These days I used more free range chicken as I love the meat texture. Will have to bookmark this recipe to try later. My MIL has undergone another operation [part of her ascending large intestine was removed due to bleeding]. The probable causes are too much painkillers and constipation. Still in ICU and I hardly have time to prepare proper meals or try new recipes since New Year's eve. Anyway, Happy New Year greetings to you.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kimmy! Yes, I also prefer free range chicken. There is a lot of difference. Sorry to hear about your mil's condition. I hope she has a speedy recovery.

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  17. Wow! Your Moroccan chicken looks amazingly scrumptious. I am definetly trying this out soon. I have all the spices except for dried apricots but will improvise. Am drooling while watching the video and looking at your pictures. :)

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    Replies
    1. I hope you give it a go because I am guessing that you would love it. Even without the apricots, this dish will rock!

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