Sharkaseya chicken

Sharkaseya chicken

By
From
Cairo Kitchen
Serves
4
Photographer
Jonathan Gregson

The Circassian people are found mainly in Turkey, Russia and the Middle East and one of the most famous of their dishes, which was taken and adapted by the Egyptians, is what we call ‘ferakh sharkaseya’, or Circassian chicken. This dish, even though a classic in Egyptian cuisine, does point to its unique origin — it is made with a rich and creamy walnut sauce reminiscent of the region the Circassians were once a part of.

For the chicken

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 whole cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 whole chicken

For the rice base

Quantity Ingredient
500g short-grain rice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 onion
salt

For the walnut sauce

Quantity Ingredient
1 slice white bread
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
200g walnuts, chopped, plus some crushed walnuts, to garnish
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon paprika
25g butter
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Put the onion, garlic and celery in a large pot. Add 1 litre water, the spices, bay leaves and salt and bring up to the boil. Add the whole chicken and enough water to cover the chicken and simmer for about 45 minutes until the chicken is tender and cooked through. Using your hands or two forks, remove the meat from the chicken and break into large chunks. Keep the broth on the heat and reduce down to just over 500 ml.
  2. To make the rice base, wash the rice under cold running water, then soak in fresh water for half an hour.
  3. Into a medium-sized pot, add the oil, drained rice and some salt and stir for 5 minutes over a high heat. Add the half onion in one piece and 500 ml boiling water, stir and cover the pot. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 to 25 minutes over a low heat until the rice is tender and has absorbed the water.
  4. To make the walnut sauce, soak the bread in some of the reduced chicken broth for 5 minutes.
  5. In a medium pot, sauté the onion in the oil over a medium heat until golden, then add 500 ml of the reduced broth. Add the soaked bread and blend with a hand mixer. Add the chopped walnuts, allspice and paprika and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the butter to finish off the sauce.
  6. To assemble the dish, arrange a base of rice and place the chicken pieces so they cover it. Pour over a ladle of hot walnut sauce and garnish with the walnuts.
Tags:
Egyptian
Cairo
Middle
Eastern
street
food
restaurant
chef
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