Introduction: Chicken Stew With Barberries, Saffron and Rosewater

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This fragrant stew will make you ask for more. The wonderful combination of sweet-sour barberries, saffron, rosewater, aromatic spices and the fresh spinach stirred through at the end make this an extra special, not every day kind of dish.

You will find barberries and rosewater in Middle-Eastern grocery stores or if you are in the UK, the spice shop Steenbergs sells both organic.

Feel free to replace the chicken with lamb or beef, adjusting the cooking time.

Serve with Basmati rice and a green salad.

Serves 4

Step 1: What You Will Need

  • Coconut oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 500 g chicken thighs. chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cups good quality chicken stock
  • 1t turmeric
  • 1t cinnamon
  • 1t ground cardamom
  • see salt and black pepper
  • ¼ t saffron strands dissolved
  • 1t rose water
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves, chopped


  • 1t coconut oil
  • ¼ cup flaked almonds
  • ¼ raw shelled pistachios, sliced

Barberry sauce

  • 2t coconut oil
  • ½ cup dried barberries
  • 2 t raw cane sugar
  • 2t lemon juice

Step 2: Frying the Onions and Garlic

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and fry the onion over a low heat for 20 minutes, until they are brown and start to caramelise. Add the garlic and fry for about 2 minutes.

Step 3: Frying and Cooking the Chicken

Turn up the heat and add the chicken. Fry it until brown on all sides. Add the turmeric, cinnamon and cardamom and fry it for 1 more minute. Lower the heat and add the stock, a teaspoon of salt and ½ t pepper. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 30 minutes (or 60 minutes if you chose lamb or beef).

While the chicken cooks prepare the saffron liquid. Ground the saffron with a pestle and mortar and dissolve them in the rose water. Leave it to steep.

Step 4: Adding the Spinach and Saffron

Stir in the spinach leaves a few handfuls at a time until they are wilted. Add the saffron liquid to the cooked chicken.

Step 5: Making the Decoration

Heat 1t coconut oil over medium low heat, add the nuts, and fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the nuts from the pan and set aside.

Step 6: Preparing the Barberry Sauce

Place 2t coconut oil in the same pan and add the barberries, 2 T water, sugar and lemon juice and fry over medium heat for 3 minutes (be careful not to overcook the barberries, they burn easily). Set aside.

Step 7: Decorating the Stew

Transfer the stew to a serving bowl. Garnish it with the barberries and nuts on top, keeping a few nuts for just before serving.

Step 8: Serving the Dish

Serve with rice, a green salad, and more nuts, if you like.


Meat Contest 2016

Third Prize in the
Meat Contest 2016