Lemon & Saffron Chicken – from my ‘Cook like an Indian series’


Lemon and Saffron Chicken Kebabs

Serves 4


4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into large cubes or strips, or 4 baby chickens

2 onions

2 tsps finely minced garlic

Juice of 2 lemons

½ teaspoon cayenne or paprika

1 tsp saffron threads

Salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste

Handful of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Lemon wedges to serve


If using baby chickens take one and turn it over so that the back is exposed. Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut down one side of the backbone from end to end. Repeat with the other side, removing the bone section, which is almost triangular in shape. With the backbone removed, place the chicken on a chopping board breast-side up. Using the side of a large kitchen knife, press down on the bird with the knife, flattening the flesh and the remaining back bones at the back. Repeat with all the birds that you are cooking.
For each bird, take a skewer and pin the thigh to the wing section on each side. If you are using halved chicken pieces or cubes or strips of chicken, thread the meat (weave the strips, if using) onto several metal skewers to form kebabs. If you are using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 20-30minutes first.
Place the skewered chicken in a large shallow dish. Grate the onion onto the flesh. Mix with the garlic, Pour the lemon juice over the chicken, and rub plenty of black pepper and cayenne. Rub the marinade all over the meat, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or preferably overnight, turning regularly.
When ready to cook, heat a BBQ and allow the coals to die down and become white. Or, if using a ridged cast-iron grill pan, heat the pan until very hot. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place the skewers on the grill. Add the saffron to marinade and season well with salt. Gently grill the chicken, basting constantly with the saffron marinade. Continue to turn and baste until the meat is tender. Serve scattered with chopped parsley and lemon wedges.
As always – enjoy with great satisfaction, the fruit of your labour!


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