Kurdish Fried Chicken in Broth


I love this style of cooking chicken for both its flavor and its ease. The chicken is cut into pieces and rubbed with salt and lemon juice, kind of a quick marinade, before being shallow-fried until golden. But there’s no worry about whether the frying cooks the chicken completely, because it then simmers in water with a little onion, turmeric, and cumin until tender and cooked through. Slideshow: More Fried Chicken Recipes 

Kurdish Fried Chicken in Broth
Photo: Excerpted from Taste of Persia by Naomi Duguid (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2016. Photographs by Gentl & Hyers.
6 to 8


  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds bone-in chicken legs  and/or breasts, chopped into 1 1/2-inch  to 2-inch pieces

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, or more to taste

  • 1 1/2 cups sunflower or extra-virgin olive oil for shallow-frying

  • 2 medium onions, grated

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander or scallions, or a mixture


  1. Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl, add the lemon juice, and turn the chicken to expose all surfaces to the juice. Add the salt and rub it onto the chicken pieces. If you have time, refrigerate, covered, for an hour or two to marinate.

  2. About an hour before you want to serve the chicken, place a wide heavy skillet over medium heat. Add oil to a depth of 1⁄4 inch. Once the oil is hot, lift the chicken pieces out of the marinade (reserve the marinade) and carefully slide them into the oil. (If your pan is too small to hold the chicken comfortably, use two pans or cook in batches, adding a little more oil if necessary.) Fry, turning the pieces from time to time, until the chicken is well touched with gold, about 15 minutes.

  3. Lift the chicken pieces out of the oil and transfer to a large pot. Add the onions, the reserved marinade, and water to barely cover. Bring to a boil and toss in the turmeric and cumin, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 45 minutes or so, until the chicken is cooked through. (If you taste the broth early in the cooking, you will find the cumin too strong, but once it has finished simmering, the flavors come together.) Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

  4. Serve the chicken in its broth, topped with a sprinkling of chopped coriander and/or scallions. Set out plenty of flatbreads, the rice, and the herb plate.

Serve With

Rice, flatbreads and fresh herbs.

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