Saturday, September 19, 2009

Harissa Spiced Chicken with Bulgur

I decided to find harissa when I saw Jeffrey Saad use it on the Next Food Network Star. I didn't want to make his recipe, I was just intrigued by the spice. After searching for a recipe, I found this Assyrian dish (although it was also listed as Armenian??). One of my favorite Lord Byron poems has an Assyrian in it, so it won me over. This recipe is very healthy, unique, easy, and tasty. That's a win-win-win-win scenario if I ever saw one. I found the harissa at our huge Asian market (LeeLee). It may be a little hard to find. It can also be made from scratch if you cannot find it. Harissa Recipe Some of the measurements are in metric since this recipe is from the BBC.

Harissa Spiced Chicken with Bulgur

1 tbsp harissa paste

4 skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp vegetable oil or sunflower oil
1 onion , halved and sliced
2 tbsp pine nuts
handful dried apricot
300g bulghar wheat
600ml hot chicken stock 
handful coriander , leaves only, chopped

Rub 1 tbsp harissa paste over the chicken. Heat the oil in a deep non-stick pan, then fry the chicken for about 3 mins on each side, until just golden (it won't be cooked through at this stage). Remove and set aside.

Add the onions, then gently fry for 5 mins until soft. Tip in the pine nuts and continue cooking for another few mins until toasted. Tip in the apricots, bulghar and stock, then season and cover. Cook for about 10 mins until the stock is almost absorbed. Return the chicken to the pan, re-cover and cook for 5 mins on a low heat until the liquid has been absorbed and the chicken is cooked through. Fluff up the bulghar with a fork and scatter with the coriander to serve.


  1. Ok, now make something with Chilean Mapuche.

  2. I don't make stuff out of people.

  3. I was like, wth is she talking about?! Then I looked it up. But I swear that was a spice someone was talking about. I think it is officially called Merken or Merquen.

  4. If you are talking about making Assyrian harissa, you should know that this dish is not it. Assyrian harissa is a porridge made of chicken and wheat (with some water, of course), cooked for hours, whipped into a smooth texture (this requires time, strength, and several family members), and served hot with melted butter and ground coriander seeds, usually during Christmas (or at least that's how my grandpa always does it). There is no 'harissa paste' in Assyrian cooking. That's a different 'harissa' from North Africa. In Assyrian harissa, there are no onions, no chicken stock (cooking the chicken for so long makes its own stock) and no pinenuts. Just chicken, wheat, butter and ground coriander.