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Recipe Test: Moroccan chicken

Moroccan chicken 

Moroccan chicken
Serves 8
Cooking time: 2 hours


  • ¼ cup of oil

  • 12 pieces chicken (add extra legs and thighs, if you like)

  • 3 onions, chopped

  • 2 teaspoons chilli garlic sauce or sweet chilli sauce (increase quantity if you like it spicier)

  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1½ tablespoons curry powder

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 2 x 400g cans tomatoes (use Cirio brand)

  • 2 cups prepared chicken stock

  • Lemon zest (from one lemon – zest it before squeezing)

  • Juice of one lemon

  • 200g pitted prunes

  • 1 x 7cm cinnamon stick – broken in half

  • 2 bay leaves, whole

  • 440g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Here’s what to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.

  2. Heat oil in a pan and brown the chicken. Cover with a lid if it begins to splatter.

  3. Place browned chicken in an ovenproof dish and set aside.

  4. In the same pan, cook onions until translucent.

  5. Add chilli garlic sauce, coriander, cumin, curry powder and salt. Cook for one minute until fragrant

  6. Add stock, lemon zest, lemon juice, prunes, sugar, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and tomatoes and bring to boil.

  7. Pour sauce over chicken and bake, covered with foil, for 35-45 minutes.

  8. Mix in chickpeas, bake uncoveredfor a further 35-45 minutes or until top is nicely browned.

  9. Serve with couscous (1 cup couscous to 1½ cups boiled water or stock) or brown rice. 

Cook’s Notes:
If fresh chicken stock is not available, crumble one chicken stock cube or 1 tablespoon of stock powder into 250ml warm water and dissolve. (Try to get the “no MSG added” variety). For a low fat option skip step 2. For a low sugar option cut out the sugar and reduce the prunes.

Name: Craig Lavrick
Age: 41
Nationality: Australian
Chef Proficiency: No Reservations (watch out Anthony Bourdain)
Party Piece: Oven roasted French cutlets topped with seeded mustard, rosemary, thyme and oregano. Fillet steaks, grilled to absolute perfection on my Weber Q, also go down a treat. 
Who you’re road-testing the recipe for: Mid-week dinner for my girl and I.

Apart from the chicken, we had all the ingredients in the cupboards at home so the shopping was easy. The recipe suggests adding extra pieces of chicken legs and thighs but I stuck with the faithful drumstick – 10 in all. Prepping took about 25 minutes before it was time to brown the chicken, with a glass of Luis Felipe Edwards Chilean Carmenere 2009 in hand. It’s a bargain drop from Giant at $22 per bottle.

I should have read the instructions a little closer when cooking the chicken, “Cover with a lid if it begins to splatter”. After cleaning up my mess, it was time to remove the chicken from the heat and throw in the onions and spices. The fragrance was so distracting, I nearly forgot to add the stock, tomatoes, lemon juice and zest. Tip: take care when pouring the sauce over the chicken to avoid a “wardrobe moment”.

Waiting for the chook to cook is the most difficult aspect of this dish – a whole 80 minutes, but she was a sight for sore eyes when she finally emerged. Tony Bourdain would have been well impressed! I omitted the sugar, prunes and side of rice or couscous as both my girl and I are watching our sugar and carb intake but it was delicious without them. Another tip: the recipe states “Serves eight” but there wasn’t a skerrick left between us (after the second helping), so I’d say this serves four, unless you plan to add a substantial side. The recipe was deemed an absolute success and is bound to make a weekly appearance at our place. Enjoy!