Baked Chicken with Za’atar

Having tried and tested this mouthwatering dish many a time at my favourite Mediterranean restaurant in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, I tried to replicate the flavours from memory and of course with the help of my taste buds.  After successfully making this dish no less than a dozen times, I finally remembered to take a pic and post it on this site.  So here goes:


Click image to enlarge


Ingredients: (Serves 4-6)

6 chicken breasts, legs or whole thighs

5 tablespoons of za’atar (Jordanian Zaatar is the tastiest kind and can be found in all Middle Eastern grocery stores)

1/2 tsp salt or to taste

1 russet potato (sliced thinly) or 1 yam cut into cubes

3 ripe tomatoes

2 large green bell peppers

3-4 cloves of garlic (left whole)

3 tablespoons of olive oil

Handful of fresh chopped mint leaves

Optional: 3 jalapeno peppers

1/2 cup water

You will need a large baking tray (deep enough to hold all ingredients) and some aluminium foil


How to:

1. Turn oven on at 325 degrees c. and time it for 1 hr 45 mins (turning over chicken half way through). Note: if using breast pieces, this dish should only take an hour.

2. Wash and drain the chicken well and remove all skin.

3. Place chicken in a baking tray already covered in foil (it’s so much easier to clean when using foil)

4. Cut yams/potatoes, tomatoes, and bell peppers into 1 inch cubes. If using Russet potatoes instead of yams, slice potato thinly.

5. Add jalapeno peppers and garlic cloves (leave whole)

6. In a bowl or small measuring jug, mix the zaatar, olive oil and 1/2 cup water using a spoon. Pour over the chicken and vegetables and ensure all the chicken is covered.

7. Place in oven – uncovered – and allow to cook for 1 hour. After an hour, turn over chicken gently and add freshly chopped mint leaves. Place back in oven and allow to cook until chicken is thoroughly cooked and browned all over.


Recommendations: Serve with whole wheat pita bread, brown or white rice.



Recipe & image by Sabina Huq

One Response to “Baked Chicken with Za’atar”

  1. It’s funny that you should have potesd about this today, since just the other day I decided to do the same thing with a pile of peels that I had after peeling potatoes to make fondant potatoes for dinner (and there’s a bunch of potato cuttings that I saved from that to turn into mashed potatoes). The taste was great, and I’ll never through out peels again!

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