This is a good one to make when people come round, as it is really hard not to like - sweet and sour, plenty of textures, pretty colours and virtually everybody likes chicken. Using chicken thighs here makes it almost impossible to dry the meat out and ensures plenty of chicken flavour to come through the strong marinade.
● 8 chicken thigh fillets, skin removed
● 1 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying
For the marinade:
● 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
● ½-1 green chilli (depends how hot you like it), sliced
● 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
● 1 tbsp vegetable oil
● ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
● 200g bulgar wheat
● ½ tsp salt
● 1 tsp olive oil
● 200ml boiling water
● 50g shelled pistachios, roasted and coarsely chopped (half reserved to sprinkle on top)
● 75g currants
● 2 tsp dried mint
● 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
● 50g fresh pomegranate seeds (1 tbsp reserved to sprinkle over the top)
● 1 small bunch of mint, roughly chopped (about 15-20g)
● 1 small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped (about 15-20g)
● Mix the marinade ingredients together and use to coat the chicken all over. Cover and keep in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours to marinate. You can start the meat marinating up to 48 hours in advance - just leave it in the fridge until you are ready to start cooking.
● Preheat the oven to 200°C/I80°C fan/gas mark 6.
● Place the bulgar wheat in a bowl with the salt and oil, pour over the boiling water and cover with cling film for 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff up the bulgar using a fork. Add all the remaining salad ingredients except those you have reserved to use as garnish, and stir well.
● Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and place the chicken thighs smooth-side down in it. Season with salt and pepper and fry for 2-3 minutes until the thighs go a lovely dark golden colour, then flip them over and cook for a further 2 minutes.
● Place the frying pan in the oven for 12 minutes, by which time the chicken should be cooked through.
● Spoon the salad onto individual plates or a large serving platter and top with the chicken and the juices that have accumulated in the frying pan. Sprinkle with the reserved pistachios and pomegranate seeds to garnish.
Recipe adapted from Honey & Co: Food from the Middle East by Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer, Saltyard Books, £25