A simply boiled chicken seems basic but it’s an art to make. Although the spices vary from one country to another, many countries have recipes for boiled chicken. In this recipe, I combine the techniques the Taiwanese use to boil chicken while keeping its meat moist with the Egyptian spices that make this a staple in the Egyptian kitchen.
The other day I found recipes written by my grandfather back in the 1950s. In the Arabic language, the grammar requires you to differentiate between male & female by using specific pronouns, verb conjugations, …, etc for each gender. What caught my eyes about grandpa’s recipes is that they were addressed to a woman. I couldn’t help but think that my grandpa must have been so into cooking that he didn’t care to change the grammar, he only cared to capture the recipe. I still remember when I was a teenager and he told me about his mom, her simplicity, how she served the family a hot boiled chicken, cut into pieces with salt & pepper to add to taste in your own plate. Of course I rushed to try that and it was exquisite.
Serving Ideas: Cut into serving sizes, protecting the skin on each piece. Warm a pan with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Put the chicken skin side down and leave it for about 5 minutes until the skin is crispy. Flip the chicken pieces and crisp the other side for about 3 minutes. Your chicken is ready to eat! Another idea is that you cut the chicken into strips and use it for a delicious homemade chicken sandwich.
Condiments: Serve it boiled, cut into serving size with salt&pepper, Sharkaseya sauce or a side of Tahini sauce.
Serving Size: 4-8 persons
1 chicken (about 5 lbs or 2kg), preferably organic free range
1 large onion, peeled
3 cardamom pods lightly crushed
1 Tbs salt or to taste
~ Rinse the chicken and put it in a large pot.
~ Add the onion. Cover the chicken with water.
~ Bring water to a boil over high heat.
~ Lower the heat and remove any scum that comes to the surface.
~ Flip the chicken upside down and add the cardamom pods and salt.
~ Cover the pot and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
~ Remove from the heat. Flip the chicken again. And leave it in the pot for 30 minutes.
~ Remove the chicken from the broth. It’s now ready for your favorite way of serving it or to use it in another recipe.
~ You also have a great broth to use in other recipes. If the broth is too watery, bring it to a boil and let it simmer over medium high heat. Keep checking on it every 5-10 minutes until it reaches the thickness you desire.
~ Bel Hana ~
Best Places to Try this Dish in Egypt:
~ My mom’s kitchen