Talking to a few friends yesterday, we were all bemoaning this hot and humid weather and thinking about stews and hearty food. And in defiance of the temperature, one was making chilli con carne and one was cooking pork meatballs in tomato sauce. So with chicken in my fridge needed to be cooked, I joined the trend and made this FRAGRANT TURKISH CHICKEN WITH STAR ANISE AND CHILLI. I found the recipe last year in the West Australian newspaper. It will serve 8. And it was so nice to eat a winter meal in summer with a glass of red…!

3 tbsp olive oil
2 free-range chickens, cut into pieces (I used 6 chicken thighs with the bone in)
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 star anise
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 × 440g can diced tomatoes
1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
4 cups (1 litre) chicken stock
1 red capsicum, cut into strips
1 green capsicum, cut into strips
1 yellow capsicum, cut into strips
1 big green chilli, finely chopped
12 dessert figs, sliced
2 tbsp bourghal/ burgul (cracked wheat)
sea salt to taste
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped for garnish


  1. Heat the oil in a big pot. Add the chicken pieces and brown slightly. Remove from the pot. Add the onion, garlic, star anise, cumin and cinnamon, and cook for a few minutes until onion softens. Return the chicken pieces to the pot, combining well with spice mixture. Pour over pomegranate molasses. Next add canned and cherry tomatoes and chicken stock. Simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.
  2. Then add the remaining  ingredients (capsicums, chilli, figs and bourghal) and simmer for another 30 minutes. Season to taste. Extra stock can be added as needed. Garnish with parsley.
  3. Eat!

As you can see, it’s very easy to make! I only put 3 star anise, the taste can be quite overwhelming. I assumed the dessert figs were dried figs. You can put more chilli in it if you like it spicy; that one green chilli was not strong at all.  I ate it with rice. Yum yum!


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