Harissa Chicken with Saffron & Date Herbed Rice

This spicy, sweet, nutty dish was inspired by the classic Middle Eastern ingredients chef Olivia Hayo fell in love with in the markets of Nazareth, a town that is known locally as an Arab center in Israel.

By / Photography By Olivia Hayo | February 25, 2018

Ingredients

Chicken
  • 4 Local chicken quarters (thigh and drumstick), washed and dried
  • 2 tablespoons harissa paste
  • 2 tablespoons rose water
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon grape seed oil or light olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried rose petals (optional), for garnish
Rice
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water (plus 2 1/4 cup for cooking rice)
  • 1 tablespoon grape seed or light olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice, rinsed and drained well
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup each chopped dates, toasted pine nuts, chopped parsley
Tahini Sauce
  • 1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pinch salt, more to taste

Instructions

Make the Chicken:

1. Preheat oven to 425 F.

2. In a large ziplock bag add the chicken, harissa paste, rose water, turmeric, salt and black pepper. Close ziplock and mix well until chicken is coated.

3. In a large roasting pan, arrange chicken in single layer and drizzle with oil. Place on center oven rack and roast for 20 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 350 F and roast additional hour.

Make the Rice

1. In a small bowl, soak saffron threads in 2 tablespoons of boiling water. Set aside while cooking rice.

2. Warm the oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan; add the rice and stir to coat. Add the  2 1/4  cups of water and salt and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.

3. Remove pot from heat and pour the saffron water over a quarter of the rice. Cover and set aside for 5 minutes. Fluff gently with a fork.

4. In a large mixing bowl, combine dates, pine nuts, and parsley. Gently fold into rice, being careful not to over mix. There should be distinct yellow and white grains. 

Make the Tahini Sauce

In a small bowl, combine all sauce ingredients and stir well. Thin with more water or lemon juice or thickened with additional tahini, as needed.

Bring it all Together

Arrange the rice on a large serving platter, top with chicken pieces, and garnish with dried rose, if you like. Serve the tahini sauce on the side for drizzling.

*A Note on Ingredients: All of the ingredients for this recipe can be found at Middle Eastern and Persian Markets throughout San Diego County, such as Balboa International Market and Harvest International Market in San Diego or North Park Produce in Poway.

 

 

 

 

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Ingredients

Chicken
  • 4 Local chicken quarters (thigh and drumstick), washed and dried
  • 2 tablespoons harissa paste
  • 2 tablespoons rose water
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon grape seed oil or light olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried rose petals (optional), for garnish
Rice
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water (plus 2 1/4 cup for cooking rice)
  • 1 tablespoon grape seed or light olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice, rinsed and drained well
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup each chopped dates, toasted pine nuts, chopped parsley
Tahini Sauce
  • 1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pinch salt, more to taste
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