This is my go to healthy chicken recipe. Many a day I’ve come back home from work completely brain-dead and not knowing what to put on the table for dinner. This easy chicken dish has always saved the day on such occasions and been a healthier option too.
This lovely dish is a cheat’s version of our favourite BBQ saffron chicken skewers (joojeh kabab-e zaferuni). Proper joojeh kabab is saffron-flavoured and has a side of grilled tomatoes and chillies. But you don’t always have the luxury of time to marinate the chicken overnight or nice weather to allow you to fire up the grill to make it the right way, do you?
Don’t let the word saffron put you off. It’s true that it’s a very expensive spice but believe me, a pinch of good Persian saffron will not cost you any more than most bottled marinades and sauces if you know how to use it.
Sometimes I just put the chicken on the table with slightly warmed flatbread (such as lavash or pita) and a plate of mixed fresh herbs (sabzi khordan) . We roll the chicken and tomatoes into pieces of flatbread with some of the lovely herbs like mint, tarragon, spring onions and chives and a pinch or two of tangy sumac. What is there not to like?
At other times I make a pot of lovely Persian steamed rice (kateh) or even my sumac rice. You can find the recipe for sumac rice in the post Kabab Tabei: Persian Beef Patties in Tomato Sauce with Sumac Rice. It will be scrummy whichever way you serve it. If I’m serving with rice I won’t reduce the sauce too much. I may even add a bit more tomato purée, saffron and water to have more sauce to drizzle over the rice.
I usually make this dish with chicken breasts or even mini fillets (tenders) to be on the healthier, lower-calorie side but boneless thighs are great to use too. They actually have more flavour so go for it, or even a mixture of thighs and breast meat, if you wish.
The chicken will be done very quickly if you first sear the cubes. They will also be moister inside because searing will lock in the juices. It should look like this when you add the tomatoes:
I love a bit of heat so I usually put some chillies or jalapeños in mine but you don’t really have to. I also like to sprinkle mine with Aleppo pepper (rather mild chilli flakes from the Middle East). You can see that in the picture next to the sumac (on the left).
To serve four people with a side of rice or with flatbread you will need the following ingredients: