Making these Persian chicken wraps could not be easier. That is, until the smoke detector goes off because your kitchen is missing a hood fan. Then you discover that the smoke detector is connected to the home security system. That very same home security system that you’ve never used and don’t have the passcode for. The passcode that you need to reset the system and stop that infernal bleating.
Thankfully your realtors come through in the clutch and are able to contact the previous homeowners to get the code. So, while it only takes 30 minutes to make these wraps, it takes 3 hours to get the fire alarm to stop and you will bear a striking resemblance to Jack Nicholson at the end of The Shining by the time it’s all over.
So, to recap, things to do before you fry up the chicken for this recipe: 1) install a hood fan, 2) turn it on, 3) open all the windows and have someone tall and energetic on standby with a dishtowel to flap wildly beneath the smoke detector to prevent its shrill song from piercing your eardrums and making you lose your sanity.
I’m so relieved to learn that the fire safety measures in this house are up to snuff. Pun intended.
The worst part was that I had to take pictures of the food after this incident and the shakes were really making the photography a challenge.
Luckily I actually got to eat these wraps after this whole ordeal and their delicious taste was a soothing balm for my frayed nerves.
You will need to pick up a couple of delicious Persian spice blends and some pomegranate molasses before you start in on this recipe. Stop by your local Middle Eastern grocer to grab them.
Ras el Hanout is the star ingredient in this recipe. It’s a spice blend that means, “head of the shop” in Arabic – a name earned by being a combination of the best spices of the shop in which it was made. It’s comprised of over a dozen spices, often including cumin, cubeb pepper, rose petals, and fenugreek.
You might have heard of Sumac, another spice that features heavily in this dish and is ubiquitous throughout Middle Eastern cooking. No, not the poisonous kind that will give you a wicked rash, the delicious, safe-to-consume kind. Here’s a great explainer from The Kitchn.
If you have time, I’d definitely recommend giving the chicken an opportunity to marinate in the fridge for a bit before cooking. Marinating is like foreplay, it makes everything better and you’re more likely to go back for seconds.
- 2 tbsp ras el hanout
- 4-5 tbsp olive oil
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts thicker side sliced and spread open for even cooking
- sea salt
- 4-6 flour tortillas
- 1 red onion halved and thinly slices into half moons
- pomegranate molasses
- arugula leaves and pomegranate seeds to garnish
- 1 small bunch of mint, leaves picked and finely chopped
- 2 cups Greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp sumac
- freshly ground black pepper
Mix the ras el hanout with olive oil in a small bowl to create a paste. Smear the paste over the chicken breasts, ensuring they are well coated. Season each chicken breast with a pinch of sea salt, and, time permitting, cover with plastic wrap and place the chicken in the fridge to marinate as long as you like, overnight at most.
Preheat a large frying pan over medium heat if using gas, or medium-high heat if cooking on electric (you might need to use two pans to cook up all 4 breasts at once), drizzle in a good amount of olive oil. Put in the chicken breasts and fry them for 8-10 minutes on one side and 6-8 minutes on the other side. To check if its cooked through, prod the fattest part of each chicken breast with your finger. If it feels very springy, it needs to cook for a bit longer, but if it feels firm, it's cooked.
Place the chicken on a chopping board and allow it to rest for a few minutes, ensuring it remains moist and tender. Slice into strips and put several into each wrap with some onion slices. Dollop some of the yogurt on top, drizzle with pomegranate molasses, garnish with arugula and pomegranate seeds, and serve.
For the yogurt sauce, put the mint into a bowl with the yogurt, sumac, a generous pinch of sea salt, freshly ground pepper and mix well until sumac and mint are evenly incorporated.
Recipe from: Ghayour, Sabrina. "Ras el Hanout Chicken Wraps." Persiana. Interlink, 2014.