Saffron Chicken With Couscous

Chicken and saffron couscous

The best thing about Moroccan and North African cooking is that balance between sweet, sour and spice and this dish covers all those bases.



  • 500 g chicken thigh, diced
  • 60 g (½ cup) chickpea flour
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced peeled pumpkin
  • 2 Lebanese eggplants, cut into 2 cm-thick rounds
  • 10 saffron threads
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp red Aleppo pepper
  • 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
  • 400 g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 170 g (1 cup) pearl cous cous, cooked (see Note)
  • 1 zucchini, cut in large chunks
  • 75 g (½ cup) currants
  • ½ cup coriander leaves
  • 1 lemon, juiced


Place the diced chicken in a large bowl. Add the chickpea flour and half each of the ground turmeric, coriander and cumin. Season to taste and toss to coat. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Cook the chicken for 2-3 minutes or until golden all over. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Add a little extra oil to the pan, then add the onion, pumpkin, eggplant, saffron, cinnamon, star anise and the remaining turmeric, coriander and cumin. Cook for a few minutes or until the vegetables are beginning to soften, then return the chicken to the pan. Add the honey, Aleppo pepper, stock and chickpeas. Simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the sauce has slightly thickened. Add the cooked pearl cous cous, zucchini and currants and cook for a few minutes or until all the vegetables are tender. Sprinkle over the coriander leaves and squeeze the lemon juice over the top. Serve immediately.


• To cook the pearl couscous, place in a saucepan with 250 ml (1 cup) stock or water and simmer, partially covered for 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stand, covered for another 7 minutes. 

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