A couple of months ago, my fellow expat friend Christa and I took an Emirati cooking class as the esteemed Parti Perfect here in Abu Dhabi. We had been trying for weeks to sign up for a class, but they had difficulty getting enough people signed up. Anyway, it just so happened that a large group from the Abu Dhabi Women’s Network (AWN) had signed up for the class. Christa and I got paired up with someone from AWN and we were assigned the Chicken Makhtoom (or Maktoum) to make. We were handed a recipe, and told to go make it. Hmm…strange set up for a cooking class, but we rolled with it.
The recipe we cooked in class was straight from the blog – Emiratican Kitchen, which was in turn taken from Ya Salaam Cooking. After a little research, it looks like the recipe is Saudi. I must say, it is extremely hard to find recipes from the Gulf in print. So, I was very excited to not only learn about these new blogs! I have had the chance to cook a few of their recipes – all of which turned out great!
As some of you know, I can’t follow directions. When I look a recipe, all I see are ingredients and I skim through the directions, and then I cook. (This is why I royally suck at baking!) In our cooking class, I was in charge of the step that involves pureeing the ingredients together to make a sauce. The AWN member handed me a bowl of Seven Spice (Arabic masala) and I dumped the whole thing in. She was very upset with me, although I thought it was fine! Needless to say, I had to stand there with a spoon and fish out spices from a blender full of tomatoes and yogurt. Not cool. She finally decided that I had scooped out enough. Anyhow, 45 minutes later, everyone was eating our Chicken Makhtoom and loving it – I like to think it’s because of my added spices – hahaha!
This is what it looked like in class – we used bone-in chicken, and it was delicious. For my version, I used chicken breast to keep it a bit healthier, and I have even found a fellow blogger that used lamb – so it looks like the sauce is pretty versatile.
So without further ado….
Adapted from Emiratican Kitchen and Ya Salaam Cooking
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
2 chicken breasts – 500 g (or about 1 lb) (You can also use chicken thighs, drumsticks, whatever you have handy!)
1 cup of frozen vegetables (peas, carrots, or (again) whatever you have handy!)
2 medium sized tomatoes
1 large yellow onion
1 cup yogurt
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 ½ tbsp of Seven Spice (Arabic Masala) (divided)
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tbsp oil
1 mild chili pepper (optional)
(1) Dice the chicken breast into small cubes. Combine with a half of the seven spice mix, cumin powder, and a pinch of salt. Set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
(2) Cut the onion and tomato roughly and add to a food processor. Combine with yogurt, salt, tomato paste, and half of the seven spice mixture.
(3) Blend until you have a thick sauce.
(4) Dice chili pepper (I usually remove the seeds.)
(5) In a dutch oven or large saucepan, heat 2 tbsp of corn oil over medium-high heat. Add the chili pepper and chicken. Brown the chicken lightly on all sides.
(6) Add the tomato-yogurt sauce. Once it comes to a rapid simmer, reduce the heat and cover. Let cook for approximately 25 minutes.
(7) Add the frozen vegetables and let cook covered for another 5-10 minutes.
(8) Serve hot with rice. Enjoy!