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Syrian Roast Chicken and Potatoes

Chicken is roasted with potato slices and lots of garlic.  It is one of the most popular ever chicken dishes in Syria. Serve with Flatbread and lemon garlic dip (IT’S A MUST!). The punchy garlic and hot pepper alongside lemon and olive oil work just as well with potatoes as they do with chicken.

If you’re a vegetarian you can still enjoy this dish and easily replace the chicken with some different veggies such as squash, carrot, aubergine and courgette.

Syrian cuisine is a mixture of the cultures and civilisations that settled in Syria, of which are the Arabs, Persians and Turks. It is very similar to other Levantine cuisines, mainly Lebanese, Palestinian, Jordanian and Iraqi.

Every Friday in Syria you'll find a traditional Syrian feast that includes everything from shakriyeh, a lamb yogurt stew, to this traditional roast chicken, where the crispy meat rests on a bed of potatoes and onions before being brushed with lemon and garlic.



1 whole chicken, cut

5 medium potatoes

1 head mashed garlic

1/2 cup olive oil

4 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper

1 teaspoon dried cilantro (kuzbara)

Salt and pepper to taste



- Wash chicken pieces and place in a big pot filled with water (I like to remove the skin since it’s too greasy, but it's your choice). Add bay leaves and leave on high heat. Remove any froth. When all froth is gone, discard the boiling water and place the chicken in a big oven pan. Some people choose to dip the chicken pieces in plain yogurt and saute them for a couple of minutes on each side. You may also place the chicken right away in the pan and season them).

- Paste the chicken with the mashed garlic (reserve one teaspoon for the potatoes).

- Season the chicken with salt, pepper and ground red pepper.

- Peel the potatoes and cut each of them in half lengthwise then cut each half into half a centimeter slices.

- Season the potatoes with salt, pepper, reserved mashed garlic and dried cilantro.

- Distribute the potatoes over the chicken in the pan and drizzle olive oil.

- Cover with foil and pop in a 425 oven.

- After 50 minutes, check doneness (juices should run clear from chicken). If almost done, uncover to brown the chicken and potatoes for 5 minutes.

Serve hot with flatbread and lemon w Toom (Lemon garlic dip).


Lara Khouli