Sitti’s (granny’s) version of fried chicken is just amazing! I am not sure how, when and why she came up with this fabulous recipe, I only remember that she often prepared it for her grandchildren. She fried the chicken pieces in ghee or butter to brown them only, then added enough water to cook the meat to the right doneness. The creamy, lemony and garlicky gravy she whipped up from the cooking liquids was marvellous. The best part of the meal was to dip in the sauce her crunchy French fries fried to perfection in extra-virgin olive oil, and to scoop the chicken and gravy with torn pieces of Lebanese pita bread. It wasn’t difficult for me to recreate the taste and flavour of my sitti’s secret recipe as they were so deeply engraved in my memory. I even dedicated a small story about her in my cookbook “The Taste of Marjeyoun”, and included the recipe revealing one of her many kitchen secrets.
Prepare it only once yourself and you will be hooked forever! I know that for a fact as I received so much positive feedback on this particular dish from various people that purchased the book. Also try it with my batata bi-l-furn as a lighter substitute for French fries, and serve it, like my sitti used to do, alongside tabbouleh and hummus bi tahini.
Djaj ala tari'it sitti - Fried Chicken My Grandmother's Style
Yield 6 servings
For the chicken
- 1.5 kg Chicken breasts and legs
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Half a lemon
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- 50 g clarified butter
- 1 litre hot water
For the gravy
- 30 g butter
- 10 small garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 30 g flour
- 600 ml from the chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Clean the chicken from any extra fat and wash over a colander with cold water. Rub with the 2 teaspoons salt and the half lemon, and then wash them out again with cold water. Add the salt and the spices to the chicken and mix well.
- Heat the clarified butter in a large pot over medium-high heat and brown the chicken on both sides for about 5 minutes each. Pour in the water, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 35 minutes. Pour out 600 ml of the stock to be used for the sauce, and keep the chicken warm in the pot.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over moderate heat and sauté the garlic for 1 minute. Sprinkle in the flour and cook gently for about 2 minutes. Pour in the reserved hot chicken stock and beat well with a wire whisk. Continue cooking and stirring until it becomes thick, 2-3 minutes.
- Add the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot with batata bi-l-furn and tabbouleh or a salad of your choice.
All images and text © Dina Bayoud Kohl for Dina’s Kitchen
Courses main course