Lemony Garlic Chicken with Rice and Yoghurt Sauce (Fattet D’jaj)

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I bought another cookbook the other day.  Well …three really, but today’s post only requires me to admit to the purchase of one.  It is a fabulous book, Modern Flavours of Arabia, by Suzanne Husseini.  As always when I buy a new cookbook, I sat up in bed the other night with a cup of coffee and had a good read.

I immediately spotted a couple of recipes that I wanted to try but this one was my absolutely number one.  It sounded wonderful.  I could hardly wait to try it and, let me assure you, I was not disappointed.  It was scrumptious.  Maus, the critical one, gave it a very strong thumbs up.

Suzanne does say not to be put off by the number of steps in this dish. I agree entirely.  At first, it looks a little daunting but each step is very simple and everything, except the rice, can be done way in advance so it is a perfect dinner party dish.

This is one of the nicest dishes I have made for a very long time.  I highly recommend it.

The smell in the house whilst the chicken was cooking was divine.

To quote Suzanne:

“The reward of dipping into the sumptuous layers of crunchy bread, hot rice, lemony chicken and cool yogurt studded with buttery nuts is sublime like nothing else!”

Serves 6

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Croutons:

  • 2 rounds of Lebanese bread

Split each round of Lebanese bread into two so you have four rounds and then cut into bite-size pieces.

The recipe called for the bread to be fried in some oil and then drained but I baked the bread in a 180°C oven until it was golden and crispy.  Set aside.

Garnish:

  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup pistachios
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds

Toast pine nuts, pistachios and slivered almonds separately in a dry frying pan until lightly golden.  Set aside.

Yoghurt Sauce:

  • 3 cups full fat yoghurt
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Sea salt

Mix the crushed garlic, yoghurt and salt in a bowl.  Stir to combine.  Set aside.

Chicken:

  • 10 garlic cloves, crushed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 tbs* oil
  • juice of 3 lemons
  1. Rub the garlic over the chicken, lift the skin and rub the garlic into the flesh.
  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat the oil in a pot large enough to take the full chicken.
  4. Brown the chicken all over.
  5. Pour in the lemon juice.
  6. Reduce the heat down to a simmer, cover and leave the chicken to braise until it falls off the bone.  I found that it took about 1 hour.
  7. Shred the chicken.  Remove the skin and bones, discard.
  8. Return the chicken meat to the pot and let it sit in the sauce.

I prepared the chicken to this stage and then gently reheated it when we were ready to eat.

Rice:

  • 3 tbs* clarified butter
  • 2 cups rice, rinsed
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • salt
  • 4 cups water
  1. In a pot, heat the clarified butter and stir in the rinsed rice.
  2. Add the turmeric and salt. Mix well to coat the rice.
  3. Pour in the water and bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and leave to cook, undisturbed, until the liquid is absorbed – about 12 minutes.
  5. Leave covered for at least 10 minutes or until ready to serve.

To assemble the Fattet D’jaj:

  1. Place some of the croutons on each plate.
  2. Place a layer of rice on the croutons.
  3. Mound the chicken, with its lemony sauce, on top.
  4. Drizzle the yoghurt sauce over everything.
  5. Garnish with the toasted nuts.
  6. Serve immediately.

14 thoughts on “Lemony Garlic Chicken with Rice and Yoghurt Sauce (Fattet D’jaj)

  1. I don’t know how to pronounce this dish so I’ll just call it Glenda’s lemony garlic chicken and have it on my must try list once I get a kitchen (or at least a working stove). That crispy bread also looks like something that would disappear fast on our table.

  2. I have been looking for a lemon chicken recipe that isn’t sweet, this sounds perfect, as well as the combination of additional flavours and textures. There are many elements but as you say, each of them simple.

  3. This really does sound good, Glenda. I especially like its presentation on top of the crispy bread. I wouldn’t be able to resist snacking on them throughout the meal — and afterward. 🙂

    • Hi Deb, This one was really, really yummy! BTW how is Harry? We are in Perth at the moment but are off to Bridgetown in a few days. We will be there for three weeks. We will have to catch up sometime.

  4. Hi Glenda. I’ve been following your blog for a while, I’m super impressed with your growing and cooking skills. Some time ago you offered to share your sourdough starter. I’d like to try baking our own bread so could I please have some? I live in Mandurah but will be in Fremantle on 3 November so if it’s convenient could pop by to pick it up then. Thanks. Astrid

    • Hi Astrid. Absolutely you can have some.

      Sorry 3 November won’t work as my starters are in Bridgetown and I am in Perth. We are going back to Bridgetown in the next few days and will be coming back to Perth on the 12th or 13th. We could arrange to meet at one of the Mandurah Freeway exits on the way through. I have a wheat starter and a rye starter. Think about whether you would like just the wheat starter or both? Email me, my email address is pfgarden@optusnet.com.au. regards Glenda

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