Algerian Kbab – A lightly cinnamon spiced chicken stew with chickpeas, topped with fried potatoes and garnished with fresh parsley.
This Algerian kbab recipe has been here on the blog a while (much like those ghribiya cookies) I’m simply updating the recipe and including some better (ok slightly better) photos -the chicken really looked dry in the old photos.
Kbab is a classic Algerian recipe of chicken pieces stewed along chickpeas in a lightly cinnamon spiced sauce then topped with ‘frite’ fried potatoes and if you have it, a sprinkle of ‘shish jwez’ literally means plant/herb for stew in other words parsley. Now I love coriander ‘shish shorba’ herb for soup on my jwez / stew but you wont find many Algerians using it in stew and I’ve actually come to like parsley especially in the meat and rice stuffing for Algerian Dolma.
Kbab like many poultry / meat dishes are most popular in Algeria during Ramadan. Outside of Ramadan it’s not a must that everyday you eat meat or chicken but suddenly during Ramadan that changes, like you have to eat the best of the best and of course portion size is key here i.e. Eat in moderation. *this advice is for myself first*
You can cut and cook the chips / fries any way you prefer. For this dish I cut the potatoes into small what can I call them? Chunks? Anyway first I cut the potatoes into eighths then chopped into about 1/2cm chunks. For the best fries (chips to us Brits), I like to first cook the potatoes in warm oil about 160°C when cooked through I rapidly increase the heat to let’s say 190°C and fry for a few minutes more until golden and crisp.
You can stir in a couple of eggs into the sauce if/when you add the fried potatoes to the pot and allow to simmer gently until cooked. My son doesn’t like getting his chips soggy much like how his dad doesn’t like getting his bread soggy. Which means I don’t add the fried potatoes until I’m serving up. This way the chips stay crispy which makes more sense anyhow, since we went to the trouble of frying them.
Once you have your plate of crispy chips, succulent chicken, soft chickpeas and sauce you can eat them all together and you have a comforting taste and texture sensation right there.
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil, plus extra for frying
- 2 halal whole chicken legs
- 1 onion, finely chopped or grated
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- salt and pepper , to taste (for me scant 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper)
- 400ml water
- 2-3 medium size potatoes, peeled and cut into chips/fries
- handful of pre-cooked chickpeas (from a can or pre-soaked and boiled)
- fresh parsley (or coriander), chopped
- In a medium size pot over medium-high heat warm oil, add chicken, brown on both sides then remove from pan and set aside on a clean plate.
- Reduce heat, add onion to pot and scrape any brown bits off the bottom of pan, allow onion to cook for a few minutes until softened.
- Now add cinnamon and seasoning then add the chicken back to pot along with chickpeas (if using pre-soaked and boiled type if not, add canned type later before the fries) and water. Bring to boil and reduce to light simmer. Cover and allow to cook 40 minutes until chicken is cooked through. At this time you can remove the chicken and grill for a browned crispy skin if you like.
- In the meantime, prepare potatoes, cut into chips/fries/chunks and fry, leave to drain on a plater covered with kitchen/paper towel.
- Once chicken is cooked and the sauce has reduced you may add your fries on top of the stew to allow the sauce to soak into the potatoes or top stew with fries once served.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with bread of your choice, a squeeze of lemon is good too.
- 400ml water is a guide, depending on what type of cooking pot used you may need more, start with just enough water to barely cover the chicken add if needed through the cooking process.