Chicken Basteeya Recipe

Invite friends and family over this weekend for a relaxed Middle Eastern meal of Chicken Basteeya




Try Bethany Kedhy's chicken basteeya

This weekend, try Bethany Kehdy’s Chicken Basteeya recipe from her stunning debut book, The Jewelled Kitchen –  it’s the perfect centrepiece for a relaxed evening with friends.

“Traditionally, basteeya is a sweet and savoury delicacy made from pigeon layered with crushed almonds and egg, enclosed in a filo-like pastry. I decided to add a literal twist to the recipe by shaping the basteeya into snakes and replacing the pigeon with chicken” explains Bethany.

“In the Middle East, cooking is a truly intuitive art form …There is a saying that if you run with your senses, especially your sense of smell, that you will find inspiration. It’s never about exact measurements, and always about instinct.”


Chicken Basteeya Recipe


Serves 4

Preparation time 30 minutes

Cooking time 1 hour 20 minutes


2 tbsp sunflower oil

1 onion, finely chopped

500g/1lb 2oz mixture of chicken legs and thighs

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

5cm/2in piece of root ginger, peeled and grated

½ tsp turmeric or ground saffron

4 eggs

1 handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped

1 handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped

juice and zest of 1 small lemon

125g/4½oz/scant cup blanched almonds

3 tbsp icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

⅛ tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra for dusting

1 tbsp orange blossom water

7-8 sheets of filo pastry depending on the sheet size (defrosted if frozen)

70g/2½oz unsalted butter, melted

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for 5 minutes or until soft and translucent.

2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add it to the pan. Sear for 3-4 minutes, browning on both sides, then drain off any excess fat. Add the garlic, ginger and turmeric and cook for 1 minute until aromatic, tossing the chicken to coat. Cover with 500ml/17fl oz/2 cups water and simmer for 30 minutes or until the juices from the chicken run clear when the thickest part of a thigh is pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.

3. Remove the chicken from the broth, leaving the broth in the pan, and set the chicken aside to cool in a bowl. Continue cooking the chicken broth until it has reduced by about half, then whisk in the eggs one at a time until the eggs and broth form a scramble. You may find you don’t need to use all the eggs. Set aside to cool.

4. Once the chicken has cooled slightly, shred the meat and discard the bones. Add the herbs and lemon zest and juice to the chicken.

5. Grind the almonds to a rough paste in a food processor, then mix in the icing sugar, cinnamon and orange blossom water and stir to combine. Add this to the chicken along with the egg mixture. Stir to combine. If convenient, you can prepare the recipe to this stage one day in advance.

6. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Remove the sheets of filo from their packaging and cover them quickly with a damp kitchen towel to stop them drying out. Working with one sheet at a time, evenly spoon 4-5 tablespoons of the chicken mixture along the long edge of a filo sheet. Roll the pastry tightly into a long tube. Repeat with the remaining filo sheets and chicken mixture.

7. Transfer the rolled sheets to a 30cm/12in square or round baking tin. Starting from the outer edge, add the filo rolls as you work inwards to cover the base of the tin like a coiled snake. Drizzle the melted butter over the coiled pastry and bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes or until golden brown. Lightly dust with cinnamon and icing sugar, then slice into small, bite-sized pieces. Serve the basteeya warm.

Looking for something with zing? Try Bethany’s Moroccan Citrus Salad for a vibrant and refreshing taste of North Africa.



Bethany Kehdy is a pioneer of today’s new Middle Eastern cuisine.The Jewelled Kitchen takes you on an unforgettable adventure of Middle Eastern and North African cuisines. From Tuna Tartare with Chermoula and Sumac-Scented Chicken Parcels, to Cardamom-Scented Profiteroles and Ma’amoul Shortbread Cookies – mouth-watering dishes for you to try. Find Bethany at her inspiring food blog

“Original and delicious” – 
Yotam Ottolenghi

    The Jewelled Kitchen by Bethany Kehdy

    224 pages • Illustrated • £20.00

    AUS $32.99 NZ $42.00

     Buy the book now!




Lift Your Mood with Power Food

Sufferers of SAD often have reduced levels of serotonin during the winter months. Serotonin plays an important role in regulating appetite – when we’re low in serotonin, we often feel more hungry. As many carbohydrate foods are rich in tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin, this may explain why we want to reach for foods like bread, pasta and pastries. These foods can cause imbalances in blood-sugar levels, which can trigger further increases in appetite and cravings.

The good news is that you can make changes to your eating habits today that will have profound and long-lasting effects on your winter mood.


Look at the list below and tick any symptoms you’ve experienced over the winter months:

1. increased sleep

2. feeling unrefreshed after sleep

3. craving starchy and sweet foods

4. overeating

5. sore or weak muscles

6. weight gain

7. anxiety

8. inability to concentrate

9. mental fog

10. feelings of hopelessness

11. irritability

12. lethargy, lack of motivation

If you ticked five or more symptoms, you may suffer from SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder.

SAD is essentially caused by lack of sunlight, so it’s important to get as much natural daylight as possible. Your body makes most of its own vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunshine. Even on a dull day, you’ll still benefit from spending time outside.


7 ways to beat food cravings

1. Eat a protein breakfast. Including protein at breakfast helps reduce cravings and control appetite. Try our recipe for poached eggs and asparagus (below) or a protein shake, nuts and seeds, or fish.


2. Balance blood sugar. Swings in blood sugar are one of the major causes of cravings so keep blood sugar stable. Eliminate sugars, fizzy drinks, fruit juice, artificial sweeteners and refined carbohydrates. Combine good protein foods with healthy fats and slow-releasing carbohydrates.


3. Include snacks during the day. Eat a couple of healthy protein-rich snacks during the day and don’t allow yourself to become too hungry.


4. Avoid eating within three hours of bedtime. This can actually increase insulin levels and may increase cravings as well as disturb blood sugar and sleep patterns.


5. Get sufficient vitamin D – not only is this important for boosting mood, low levels of vitamin D may also impair your appetite control.


6. Take natural supplements for cravings. Consider a supplement to help balance blood sugar that includes chromium. L-glutamine powder can also be very effective.


7. Include soluble fibre – this helps you feel fuller for longer and aids blood-sugar control. Eat foods such as beans, pulses, oats, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit such as apples and pears.


Blues-busting breakfast

Lift Your Mood with Power Food

Poached eggs with asparagus

Start the day with a runny poached egg on a bed of tender asparagus. Packed with B vitamins, iron and copper – all help in the production of neurotransmitters in the brain – plus it’s quick, easy and delicious!

Preparation time 5 minutes

Cooking time 8 minutes

Serves 2

20 asparagus spears, trimmed

4 eggs

knob of unsalted butter

Parmesan cheese (optional)

freshly ground black pepper

1. Steam the asparagus spears for 3-4 minutes until tender.

2. Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and poach the eggs for 3-4 minutes. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

3. Divide the asparagus between plates, dot with butter and lay two poached eggs on top of each asparagus bundle. Scatter over a little Parmesan, if using, and season well with black pepper.

Find up-to-date nutritional science and comprehensive, accessible information on which foods to eat for optimum health and vitality in Lift Your Mood With Power Food.


   “Recipes to lift your spirits” The Sun

     Lift Your Mood With Power Food by Christine Bailey.

     200 pages • Illustrated • £10.99

     AUS $19.99 NZ $26.00

     Buy the e-book now!





Blackened sea bream recipe

Blackened Sea Bream or masgouf, as Iraq’s national dish is known, is much revered as a food for the mind as well as the body


author of The Jewelled Kitchen Bethany Kehdy“The infamous masgouf, as Iraq’s national dish is known, is a much-revered dish for Iraqis, reserved for special occasions. Considered to be food for the mind as well as the body, this Baghdad speciality sprang up along the banks of the Tigris, where the day’s catch would be served to Arak-sozzled patrons in cafés”, explains author of The Jewelled Kitchen. “It’s traditionally prepared with freshwater fish, similar to carp, butterflied and hung on skewers over brushwood fires. Mango chutney was introduced via Indian traders, and Iraqis made it their own with the inclusion of spices such as fenugreek.”


Blackened Sea Bream Recipe


Serves 4

Preparation Time: 10 minutes, plus time for marinating
Cooking time: 45 minutes


4 whole sea bream, pollock or haddock, about 1.25kg/2lb 12oz in total, cleaned and gutted, then butterflied (head and tail intact)

2 tbsp smoked sea salt flakes

1 tbsp tamarind paste or lemon juice

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp ground dried lime (optional)

chopped coriander leaves, to sprinkle

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Green Mango Chutney

2 green mangoes, sliced into 1cm/½in cubes

3cm/1¼in piece of root ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated

½ garlic clove, finely chopped or crushed

½ tsp turmeric

¼ tsp ground fenugreek

small pinch of crushed chilli flakes

4 tbsp cider vinegar

2 tbsp clear honey

a small pinch of sea salt


1. Put all the fish in a grill pan and season the interiors and exteriors generously with the smoked salt.

2. Put the tamarind paste in a mixing bowl, add 3 tablespoons water and mix well. Add the olive oil and dried lime, if using, and whisk well. Season to taste with black pepper. Baste each of the fish liberally all over with the tamarind marinade. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, prepare the mango chutney. Put the mangoes, ginger, garlic, turmeric, fenugreek, chilli flakes, cider vinegar, honey, salt and 350ml/12fl oz/1½ cups water in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Cover and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20–25 minutes until the mango is soft and most of the liquid has evaporated. The chutney should be slightly runny.

4. Depending on your choice, preheat a grill to high, preheat a charcoal barbecue until the charcoal is burning white or turn on a gas barbecue. Secure the fish by flattening them between the wire racks of large fish-grilling baskets, 2 fish per basket, then cook for 7 minutes on each side or until charred, crispy and flaky. Alternatively, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 and bake the fish on wire racks placed above baking trays for 10–15 minutes, depending on the size of the fish (the general rule is 7 minutes cooking time per 2.5cm/1in measured at the thickest part of the fish).

5. If using fillets, then heat a shallow, nonstick frying pan over a medium heat and sear the fish for 5 minutes on each side, carefully turning them.

6. Sprinkle coriander over the fish and serve with Chelow Rice, along with some of the green mango chutney and some Burnt Tomato and Chilli Jam, if you like.


Bethany Kehdy is a pioneer of today’s new Middle Eastern cuisine.The Jewelled Kitchen takes you on an unforgettable adventure of Middle Eastern and North African cuisines. From Tuna Tartare with Chermoula and Sumac-Scented Chicken Parcels, to Cardamom-Scented Profiteroles and Ma’amoul Shortbread Cookies – mouth-watering dishes for you to try. Find Bethany at her inspiring food blog


    “Original and delicious” –  Yotam Ottolenghi

     The Jewelled Kitchen by Bethany Kehdy

      224 pages • Illustrated • £20.00

      AUS $32.99 NZ $42.00

      £20.00 l Buy the book now!