Lebanese delicacy – Hashweh and baked Zaatar chicken


Chefs across Boundaries is a wonderful group of foodie chefs who come together once a month to experiment with different cuisines. Garima www.cafegarima.wordpress.com hosted the theme for the month which was Lebanese.

Lebanese cuisine is an ancient one and part of the Levantine cuisine, which includes Egyptian cuisine, Palestinian cuisine, Syrian cuisine etc.


Many dishes in the Lebanese cuisine can be traced back to thousands of years to Roman, and even Phoenician times. For most of its recent past, Lebanon has been ruled by foreign powers that have influenced the types of food the Lebanese ate. From 1516 to 1918, the Ottoman Turks controlled Lebanon and introduced a variety of foods that have become staples in the Lebanese diet, such as cooking with lamb. (source – wikipedia)


I have always been fascinated with the Lebanese feast pictures with so many tantalising dishes on display. When I decided to attempt Lebanese cuisine, I happily made a huge list of dishes, breads and dips and thought am gonna go all out this time. Then the heat wave hit and I knew that there is no way I could muster up the stamina for such a huge spread, but the idea of a feast wouldn’t leave my mind. I had these amazing spice mixes that i had bought from Delhi which were perfect for these flavours so did some research and came across a simple Hashweh recipe and thought why not make a sharing plate with some baked chicken and a yoghurt dip on the side.  With the flavour profiles in my mind, created my own simple recipes.


For Za’atar baked chicken:

1 kg chicken legs cut into big pieces

1/2 cup Olive oil

4 cloves of crushed garlic

1 tsp salt

Juice from 1/2 – 1 lemon

2 heaping tsp Za’atar

1/2 tsp red chilli flakes


  1. Mix all the ingredients in the oil. Adjust seasoning
  2. Rub each piece of chicken all over with the mixture and marinate it overnight.
  3. In one layer, place the chicken on a greased baking dish.  Cover with foil.
  4. Bake in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees C for 30 minutes, covered.
  5. Remove foil, and bake another 20-30 minutes (approx.). Till chicken is cooked (baste with the juices from the pan when u remove the foil to cook)


For Hashweh:

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup pine nuts

450 gms mutton mince

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp Ras Al Hanout spice mix

1/2 tbsp paprika powder

1 cup basmati rice (washed and soaked for 30 mins)

2 cups water + 3-4 tbsp of the chicken juices from the Za’atar baked chicken

1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (for garnish)

1/2 tsp cinnamon (for garnish)

few toasted Pine nuts (for garnish)


  1. Melt butter in large pot and add pine nuts. Stir regularly until the pine nuts brown or turn golden (be careful, as once the pine nuts start turning brown, they will burn quickly afterwards). Remove from heat immediately.
  2. Add mince and return back to burner on medium high. Break up the meat finely with wooden spoon.
  3. Add salt and spices, while browning meat, and mix thoroughly.
  4. Once meat is browned, add the rice and stir together.
  5. At this stage, the chicken will have been cooking for about 30 minutes and will have just come out of the oven to remove the foil. Collect the chicken pan juices and add the 3-4 tbsp juices to the rice mixture before returning the chicken back to oven to continue cooking uncovered.
  6. After adding pan juices to rice, add the water and stir. Cover pot and bring to boiling, then simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is cooked. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, sprinkled pine nuts and ground cinnamon.


Yoghurt Dip

1 box of Brittania curd

2-3 tbsp Amul cream

1/2 lime


2-3 crushed minced garlic

1/2 tsp Za’atar


  1. Hang curd for 1 hr
  2. Mix all the ingredients except the Zaatar, adjust seasoning
  3. sprinkle the Za’atar mix on top and serve it with the chicken