Friday Food: Chicken Tagine

This morning, I’m carrying on the January healthy food theme before a serious return to cake (watch this space!) and yummy things. As the days (and diet) have gone on, I’ve been casting about for interesting recipes that will still keep the calorie (or fat) count down and remembered another Rachel Allen recipe that is a relatively regular weekday meal in our house.

The spices in this chicken tagine make it seem interesting but there’s actually very little in there that will cause dietary offence. I make mine with chicken or turkey breast for ease but you can of course follow the recipe and make with jointed chicken. The addition of chickpeas probably wouldn’t go amiss either if you wanted to bulk it out for hungry mouths.

For the tagine:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 1/2-2 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 3 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 x 400 g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 2-3 tbsp honey
  • 1 x 2.25 kg chicken, jointed and skinned

For the couscous:

  • 500 g couscous
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 500 ml boiling chicken stock
  • 3 tbsp chopped coriander, mint or parsley
  • 2 satsumas, peeled and chopped

To serve:

  • lemon wedges
  • Greek yogurt


1. For the tagine: heat the oil in a large saucepan (wide enough to hold all the chicken pieces in a single layer). Add the garlic, onions, ginger and the spices. Season with salt and pepper and cook over a low heat with the lid on for about 10 minutes, or until the onions are soft.
2. Add the tomato paste, tinned tomatoes and honey and cook for a further 10 minutes, until the sauce is thick.
3. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and cover with the sauce. Simmer over a low heat with the lid on, stirring from time to time, for 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
4. For the couscous: put the couscous in a bowl, add the oil and lemon juice and mix well to coat the grains. Pour over the boiling stock and season with salt and pepper.
5. Cover and leave to sit in a warm place until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Use a fork to separate the grains and stir in the herbs and satsuma pieces.

Let me know how you get on as always, or tweet a picture.

Don’t forget too, we’re always looking for Friday Food submissions. If you would like to get involved and have a particular favourite recipe for whatever reason please do drop me a line at


January Food: Tom Yum Soup

I found this recipe years ago in one of Rachel Allen’s cook books, Rachel’s Favourite Food for Friends where it is described as ‘clean food’, a description that I’ve often returned to for food.

It’s basically a cloudy broth with a kick, full of beautiful thai flavours and juicy chicken and I tend to pad it out a bit with some rice noodles and leaves like pak choi. You can’t help but feel virtuous after eating it and thanks to the spice it’s also perfect for when you’re suffering from a heavy cold.

Image Credit: Martha Stewart

Here it is…

Serves 4
4 stalk’s worth of coriander leaves, chopped. Keep the stalks.
2 x chicken breasts (this is delicious and even lighter when made with giant prawns too.)
3 x 1/4inch thick slices of ginger (skin on)
1 green chilli squashed with the flat side of a knife.
1/4 – 1/2 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
2 stalks of lemongrass, outer layer removed, then squashed and bruised.
1L of light chicken stock
3tbsp thai fish sauce
Juice of one lime
5 Basil leaves


  • Add the coriander stalks, chicken, ginger, both chills and lemongrass to a large pan and cover with cold chicken stock.
  • Bring to the boil and heat for 3 minutes to cook the chicken.
  • Take off the heat and add the fish sauce, lime juice, chopped coriander and basil leaves.
  • (At this point you can add some ready cooked rice noodles (or any noodles really) and/or some chinese leaves or spinach to bulk it out a bit.)
  • To serve remove the coriander stalks, ginger green chilli and lemongrass.

And that’s it!

Do you like Thai food or is it a bit of a faff for at home? Although this looks like a long ingredient list, they all come in little convenient packets in the veg aisle of a basic supermarket, so it’s not hard to give it a go.


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