One Cheer For Jerusalem

‘Fess up! Who has not heard about Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi? Bad, bad you, though to be honest, I am still holding out from ordering a copy. I don’t think the french version exists yet (I’m partial to buying a cook book in the language of country I live in, that makes ingredient hunting much, much easier). Few days ago, NY Times published a recipe from Jerusalem that piqued my curiosity. It is one of the “simpler” recipe from the book that I have seen. No unheard of ingredients. Umm, hang on, yeah there is.. barberries, the Persian currants.

Chicken Cardamom Rice Jerusalem

This dish reminds me so much of the Indian Pulao. Cloves? Check. Cinnamon stick? Check. Cardamom? Check. Plain yogurt? Check. One pot wonder? Check check check!! I keep on waiting the turmeric or saffron, anything to color the dish. But nope, it wasn’t meant to be coloured, except from the red barberries.

If your curiosity is also piqued, one note: do not hold back the herbs nor the seasoning.. Also watch out for the rice and your fire/stove setting. I followed the timing indicated in the recipe, but I found the rice is overcooked – probably need to cook on even lower fire. I also wonder what would happen if chicken stock is used, instead of water. Hmmm.. 😉

Chicken Cardamom Rice Jerusalem 2

I really like the dish. A little greasy but hey, it’s practically still weekend! I’ll just do an extra kilometer tomorrow.

(source: Jerusalem, courtesy of NY Times)
serve 4 – for us, this is more like 6 serving

3 tbsp sugar (40 grams)
2 1/2 tbsp barberries, or use currants (25 grams) – I used regular raisins
4 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced (2 cups/250 grams)
1 kg skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs or 1 whole chicken, quartered
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 cardamom pods
Rounded 1/4 tsp whole cloves
2 (long) cinnamon sticks
1 2/3 C basmati rice (300 grams)
2 1/4 C boiling water (550 milliliters)
1 1/2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley leaves (5 grams), chopped
1/2 C dill leaves (5 grams), chopped
1/4 C cilantro leaves (5 grams), chopped
1/3 C Greek yogurt (100 grams), mixed with 2 tbsp olive oil (optional)

  • Put the sugar and scant 3 tablespoons water in a small saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, add the barberries, and set aside to soak. If using currants, you do not need to soak them in this way.
  • Meanwhile, heat half the olive oil in a large sauté pan for which you have a lid over medium heat. Add the onion, cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion has turned a deep golden brown. Transfer the onion to a small bowl and wipe the pan clean.
  • Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl and season with 1½ teaspoons each salt and black pepper. Add the remaining olive oil, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon and use your hands to mix everything together well.
  • Heat the frying pan again and place the chicken and spices in it. Sear chicken for 5 minutes on each side and remove from the pan (this is important as it part-cooks the chicken). The spices can stay in the pan, but don’t worry if they stick to the chicken.
  • Remove most of the remaining oil as well, leaving just a thin film at the bottom. Add the rice, caramelized onion, 1 tsp salt and plenty of black pepper.
  • Drain the barberries and add them as well. Stir well and return the seared chicken to the pan, pushing it into the rice.
  • Pour the boiling water over the rice and chicken, cover the pan, and cook over very low heat for 30 minutes.
  • Take the pan off the heat, remove the lid, quickly place a clean tea towel over the pan, and seal again with the lid. Leave the dish undisturbed for another 10 minutes.
  • Finally, add the herbs and use a fork to stir them in and fluff up the rice. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot or warm with yogurt mixture if you like.

~ I thought the salt quantity was a lot, 2.5 tsp in total. I reduced it while cooking only to add more sea salt flakes while dining.
~ Don’t be shy with the herbs. They really enhance the flavors.
~ Watch out for rice & the stove/fire setting. I cooked it at setting 3 (out of 12) for 30 mins and found the rice to be overcooked. Probably need to cook it at even lower setting.



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