Unexpected Dinner Invitation – Lebanese Chicken, Rice and Tabouleh


It was Monday. I had just come back from a short vacation to Montreal and was sorting out my e-mail, when I received a message from my friend Ahmad whom I haven’t seen in a while. The subject was “Chicken Party” and as I opened it realized it was a dinner invitation for myself and Nada – our mutual friend. I was excited because Ahmad is Lebanese and I knew that the food will be exquisite.

On the Menu? Chicken marinated with hot spices (Red Taouk Spices, found in most Middle Eastern stores – Abido is the most common brand), yogurt, garlic and onions, tabouleh, olive oil infused rice, quadruple fudge brownie sundae (the fourth ingredient is love).
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When I arrived,  parsley was being diced for tabouleh and I was advised to stay out of the kitchen :).
While the chef was making last minute preparations, the rice was finished. It was infused with olive oil which gave it an extra kick of flavour.
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Soon after, the chicken came out of the oven and we were ready to eat. The chicken bubbled with spices.

There were only three of us and SO much food, two types of spiced chicken, a full pot of rice, tabouleh, and not to mention a dessert that was coming. The chicken and the rice looked even better on the plate, and I really liked how the various colours on a white plate complemented each other.

Since we were all born and bred on either a mix of mediterranean and middle eastern diets, no meal is complete without bread.

Pièce de Résistance!
Nada was in charge of dessert. Yummy “orgasm” brownies with Haagen Dazs Mayan chocolate ice cream, served with traditional Lebanese tea. YUM!
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This was one of my favourite lazy Wednesdays in September. Time spent with friends is the time best spent. Especially when it’s accompanied by great food and great conversation. For the rest of the evening, we discussed Middle Eastern politics, woes of being a PhD student and finished off the evening watching Iranian stand-up comedy.

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For high resolution images, please click on each photo.

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RECIPES

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Red Taouk Spiced Chicken

  • Two chicken breasts
  • 200 ml of plain yogurt (you can add more if you want)
  • 1-2 tbsps of salt
  • Two lemons. I used 1/2 of a small bottled lemon (the one shaped like a lemon)
  • 50 ml of olive or canola oil (use your judgement).
  • 1-2 large cooking onions (ground into paste)
  • Garlic. I used 10 cloves or so.
  • Spice mix. It’s called “Red Taouk Spices”. The brand is called “Abido”. There’s red and white. If you don’t find red, you can use the white one.
Mix the whole thing, seal it in a container and let it marinate overnight in the fridge. Before you cook it, add a very thin layer of oil to your tray in order to prevent sticking. Cook for 40 mins at 350-375 F. Cover tray with aluminum foil for the first 25 mins.

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Rice

Boil water in a pan. You will need 2 cups of water for every cup of rice. Rinse the rice well before using it. I used Indian rice. Add salt and olive oil to the boiling water and stir. Then add the rice. Cook for 20 mins at low heat. It may foam. Keep an eye on it. If this happens lift the cover monumentality and lower the heat a bit. After that, turn the heat off, keep the cover on and let it steam for 10 minutes of so.

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Tabouleh

  • Chop parsley (2) (really fine)
  • Dice 1 large tomato
  • Dice one medium size onion
  • Burgol: 1/4 cup soaked for a few minutes and drained
  • Use lemon juice and lemon to your liking.
  • Spices: it’s called “Seven Spices”. It’s a mix of seven kinds of spices. Abido brand is the one most commonly used – found in most Middle Eastern stores. Use 0.5-1 tbsp, depending on the quantity you’re preparing.
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve.
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One response to “Unexpected Dinner Invitation – Lebanese Chicken, Rice and Tabouleh

  1. Awesome Blog! Keep it up!
    Hail to the chef 😉

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