Marinated Chicken with Cinnamon, Garlic and Rosewater


This month, The Cook Book Guru is featuring Karen Martini’s book, Cooking at Home.  Before I joined the club, I had never heard of Karen Martini, let alone own any of her books. That just shows how much I watch commercial television as I now know, she appears on Better Homes and Garden, a very popular television show.

I have more than enough cookbooks so I wasn’t about to go and buy the book.  Instead, I went onto Eat Your Books, read through the ingredients of each recipe I liked the sound of, made a shortlist of two, went on the web, found the recipes and then settled on this one.

This recipe intrigued me because we consume a lot of rosewater in this household but I had never thought to use it in a marinade for chicken.  It is certainly unusual, but it works.  You can smell the rosewater whilst you are eating the chicken.  It smells and tastes great.  Next time you are having a barbie, give it a go.

Having chosen the recipe early last month, I was all ready at the beginning of this month to make it.  In fact, I made it last Sunday.  I cooked the chicken on my Weber Q and it tasted absolutely wonderful.  The only problem was, I couldn’t be bothered fluffing around with a photo (there was just too much happening at the time) so I had to make it again.

Tonight was the re-run.  This time, I didn’t want to mess up the barbecue.  We are in Perth and this barbecue is harder to clean than the one in Bridgetown so I cooked it on a griddle on the gas top.  It was still very nice but the chicken tasted better barbecued.

The first time I made it, I didn’t bother with the almonds and rose petals and, to be honest, I don’t think they add anything.


  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 4 sprigs thyme, leaves only
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • salt
  • 4 tbs** olive oil
  • 120mls rosewater
  • a free range chicken, cut in half
  • mint leaves, to serve
  • 3 tbs** toasted almonds*, to serve
  • rose petals*, to serve

*As I mentioned above, I wouldn’t bother with the almonds and rose petals unless you are out to impress.


  • 1½ small red chillies
  • 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • ½ clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs** rosewater
  • 4 tbs** olive oil
  • 1 tsp caster sugar

**These are 20mil tablespoons

  1. The recipe says to put the garlic, cinnamon, lemon juice, thyme leaves and pepper and salt in a mortar and pestle and crush to a paste then transfer the mixture to a large bowl, add the olive oil and rosewater and mix well OR … do what I did.  Put the first six ingredients into a blender or small food processor, give them a whizz then add the rosewater and olive oil and give it another whizz.
  2. Massage the marinade into the chicken then cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for, at least, 2 hours.
  3. Preheat a griddle or barbecue to medium/high. When hot, cook the chicken, turning regularly until charred and cooked through.
  4.  Make the dressing by placing all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.

To serve, pour the dressing over the hot chicken and scatter with mint, almonds,  and rose petals (if using).


16 thoughts on “Marinated Chicken with Cinnamon, Garlic and Rosewater

  1. Pingback: What we thought of Cooking At Home with Karen Martini | The Cookbook Guru

  2. Count me among those that have never tried rosewater in a recipe. Coincidentally, I just used cinnamon in a chicken dish last evening and enjoyed it. I bet your dish has a wonderful aroma as it’s brought to the table. 🙂

    • Hi John you could smell roses! I love rose water but I usually use it in desserts. I have never used it with chicken before. Rosewater is very commonly used in Middle Eastern sweets. You can buy it from any shop that sells groceries from the general Middle Eastern region eg Lebanon. It is nearly mainstream here, most gourmet type shops would stock it.

  3. That really is an interesting combination of ingredients. I don’t think I’ve ever tried cinnamon on chicken before. Love the sounds of that marinade but don’t you know – just as I’ve found rosewater, you’ve given me pomegranate molasses to look for. I found the rosewater in a place we have here called Home Goods – awesome store with all a mish mash of things from kitchen ware to unusual spices to furniture & lamps. Maybe I’ll get lucky & find that molasses.

    • Hi Diane, just head for a suburb with more than its fair share of Middle Eastern people and you will find pomegranate molasses. Any shop that sells Middle Eastern produce will have it. It is very popular. Its pomegranate juice boiled down to a thick syrup.

  4. Reblogged this on The Cookbook Guru and commented:
    Our first post for the month of March and it is a delightful and interesting sounding middle eastern combination of marinated chicken with Cinnamon, Garlic and Rosewater. Check out Glenda’s post to find out more about this interesting sounding combination.


  5. WOW, what an interesting use of rosewater, I would never thought to cook with it like this but it sounds delicious! First post of the month for the Cookbook Guru too, Thank you 🙂

  6. Karen Martini made quite a name for herself 10 or so years ago in Melbourne, the media came after she started a family and quit the crazy restaurant life. She’s a regular in our weekly newspaper Epicure section and her recipes are generally quite accessible. This sounds delicious, rose water and pomegranate molasses together mmmm

  7. I happen to have some rosewater in my drawer and it is not used very often in recipes in our corner of the world. I’ll have to give your recipe a try…it looks great!

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