Saffron chicken with honey pesto

Sounds exotic but tastes oh so familiar.
braai recipes, chicken
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Recipe from: 23 September 2015
Preparation time: 10 min
Cooking time: 40 min


  • 6
  • a pinch of saffron juice of 1 lemon
  • 2
    onions, roughly chopped
  • 2
    garlic, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1
    ground ginger
  • 1
    ground cinnamon
  • a dash of olive oil
  • 4
    chicken thighs and 4 drumsticks (or 1 whole chicken, quartered)
  • 1/2
    hazelnuts or almonds, roasted and roughly chopped
  • 1/4
  • 2
    rose water
  • 4
    chives, chopped
Servings: Change Serving


First make the marinade: Mix the water with the saffron in a large non-metallic mixing bowl and let it stand for 5 minutes. Then add the lemon juice, onion, garlic, spices and oil. Put the chicken in a dish and rub the marinade over it so it’s well coated. Cover the dish and let it stand for an hour, or marinade the chicken in the fridge overnight.

Then make the honey pesto: Mix the nuts with the honey and rose water. Put the mixture aside.

To prepare the dish in an oven, roast the chicken, skin side up, for 30 minutes at 180 °C. Top the chicken with honey pesto and continue to roast until cooked – another 10 minutes or so. If you braai, cook the chicken slowly, high above the coals, and regularly baste the meat with marinade. If you use a kettle braai, grill the chicken for about 10 minutes over moderately hot coals until the skin starts to crisp. Scrape the coals to the side and put the chicken pieces and the remaining marinade in a metal or foil dish on a grid in the middle of the coals.

Put the lid on and cook for a further 20 minutes until the chicken is almost done. Scrape the coals to the middle again. You may need to add a briquette or two to keep the fire going. Top the chicken with the honey pesto, covering every piece. Remove the chicken pieces from the dish and braai them directly over the coals on both sides for 5 to 10 minutes.

Garnish with chives and serve with couscous and cinnamon flavoured carrots and parsnips (recipe below).


You can substitute the chicken for lamb or pork chops – just reduce the braai time.

Recipe reprinted with permission of Go! Magazine
Text by: Aletta Lintvelt Image by: Dirk Pieters

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