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Lemony Garlic Chicken with Rice and Yogurt Sauce (Fattet D’jaj)

Yields1 Serving

The sumptuous layers of crunchy bread, hot rice, lemony chicken and cool yogurt studded with buttery nuts is sublime like nothing else.

 2 large pita breads
 ¼ cup peanut oil
Yogurt Sauce
 3 cups full-fat yogurt
 2 cloves garlic, mashed
 sea salt
Chicken Layer
 10 cloves garlic, mashed
 1 whole chicken (2 pounds)
 salt and pepper
 2 Tablespoons peanut oil
 Juice of 3 lemons
Rice layer
 3 Tablespoons clarified butter
 2 cups short-grain white rice, presoaked, drained
 ½ teaspoon turmeric
 sea salt
 4 cups water
To Garnish
 ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
 ¼ cup toasted chopped pistachios
 ¼ cup toasted slivered almonds

Split each pita into 2 rounds and cut into bite-sized squares. In a large frying pan heat the peanut oil and fry the bread squares until crisp and golden. Drain on absorbent paper and set aside.


In a bowl mix the yogurt and mashed garlic and alt to make a sauce and put aside.


Take the 10 cloves of mashed garlic and rub all over the chicken, getting some under the skin. Season with salt and pepper. In a large enough pot, heat the oil and place the whole chicken to brown all over. Pour in all of the lemon juice. Bring the heat down to a simmer, cover and leave the chicken to braise until it falls off the bone (about 40 minutes). Remove all of the skin and bones and discard. Reserve the meat in its lemony sauce.


While the chicken is cooking, it is a good time to make the rice. In a pot, heat the clarified butter and stir in the drained rice. Add the turmeric and salt. Mix well to coat each grain. Pour in the water to cover the rice by 1 inch. Allow to come to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and leave to cook undisturbed until the liquid is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. leave covered until ready to serve.


To assemble, place some of the croutons in a serving platter, followed by a layer of hot rice. Mound the chicken with its lemony sauce on top. Drizzle the yogurt sauce over everything and garnish with the nuts. Serve immediately.