Cookbook:Harissa bil Djaj (Libyan Chicken Harissa)

Harissa bil Djaj
CategoryChicken recipes

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Harissa bil djaj is a flavorful and aromatic Libyan chicken dish. It features tender chicken pieces simmered in a rich and spicy tomato sauce, infused with a blend of aromatic spices. This dish is known for its bold flavors and is often served with bread or couscous, making it a satisfying and comforting meal.






  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Sauté until the onion becomes translucent and fragrant.
  3. Add the chicken pieces to the pot and brown them on all sides.
  4. Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, harissa paste, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, coriander, caraway seeds, salt, and pepper. Mix well to coat the chicken with the spices.
  5. Pour in the water or chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid, and let simmer for about 1 hour, or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
  7. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  8. Serve the hot, garnished with freshly chopped parsley. Accompany with bread or couscous to soak up the flavorful sauce.

Notes, tips, and variations

  • Harissa paste is a spicy chili paste commonly used in North African cuisine. Adjust the amount according to your desired level of heat.
  • Feel free to add vegetables like bell peppers or carrots to the dish for added flavor and texture.
  • For a richer sauce, you can add a dollop of butter or a drizzle of olive oil before serving.
  • Allow the dish to rest for a few minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Substitute the chicken with other meats such as beef or lamb for a different flavor experience.
  • Customize the spice blend by adding other spices such as cinnamon or ginger for a unique twist.