Saffron Chicken With 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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