Aunty 2’s Boiled Chicken

Aunt Ghada made this chicken more than any other protein, and I never wrote the recipe down.

What was I thinking, there in the little wicker chair tucked into the corner of the kitchen? I hunched there with a notebook and pencil between the stove and the spices every day for nearly two months and never recorded the instructions. How many other recipes must I have missed? If I had it to do all over again. . .

I can only hope that I get another two months in her kitchen, two with my cousin down the mountain, and at least one with my aunt in Beirut.

Until then, here is a reproduction of the boiled chicken That is a supplement to multiple Lebanese recipes, some of which you will find in future posts.


1 whole chicken, cleaned and dried
1 large pot of boiling water
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp allspice (optional)
1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil (optional)


Place chicken in a pot with salted water and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer chicken until meat easily pulls away from the bone, 30-90 minutes. I’m really sorry that I don’t have a more specific time reference. Aunt Ghada cooked this on a gas range and it took about an hour. Just be cautious. If you cook this too long or on too high of a heat, it will be very dry. Check the chicken with a fork starting at 30 minutes.

As it simmers, the “dust” of the chicken will rise to the surface of the water. Periodically skim the dust off the top.

When the chicken is cook, remove from water and allow to rest 10 minutes. Remove meat from the bones. You can leave the drumsticks whole if you like.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-low heat. (You may need to complete this step in batches to prevent overcrowding the chicken.) Place chicken in the pan. Sprinkle the allspice over it. Saute the chicken until it begins to brown on the outside.

Serve with garlic sauce and pocket bread or over Lebanese Lentils and Rice. Enjoy!

Shawna Ayoub

Shawna Ayoub is an essayist, fiction writer, poet and instructor with an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University. Some of her work has been published in The Manifest-Station, Role Reboot, [wherever], The Huffington Post, The Oxford Review and Exit 7. Her writing explores the intersections of race, place and survivorship. She writes with honesty about her own experience in order to transform pain.

0 Discussion to this post

  1. 7 Spice will give it that real burst in your mouth. I will send you some of my 7 spice that my aunt and my mom bring back every time they travel to our native country.
    Great recipe.
    I’m hungry now

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