Maghmum (Lime and Chicken Pie)

Maghmum: the Veiled or Covered One. Zesty Almond and Chicken Pie

chicken w roman carrots and barley salad

Take a cleaned chicken and put it, as is, whole, with its breast split, in a pot with salt, oil, black pepper and dried coriander and a small onion.  Cook half way.  Then, then take it out and put it in another pot and put on it its broth, macerated (naqui) murri, saffron, rue, thyme and citron leaves. Put in its cavity a lime.  Scatter over it peeled almonds and cover the top of the pot with dough.  Place it in the oven until it is cooked, then use.

(al-Tujibi, Fadalah al-Khiwan fi Tayyibat al-ta’am wa a;-A;wan/Saaloum, pg. 109.)


1 whole chicken or Chicken thighs

1 tsp salt

3 Tbs oil

1 tsp crushed black pepper

1 tsp dried coriander or 1 Tbs dried cilantro leaves

1 sm onion chopped

1 C chicken broth

½ tsp fish sauce

1 pinch saffron

1 tsp thyme

1 handful citron or kafir lime leaves with the center vein pulled out

1 lime quartered


½ cup chopped or sliced almonds


1 pie crust:

2 C flour

1 1/3 stick of butter

¼ C CHILLED water

½ tsp salt


I had to change this slightly.  Instead of using a whole chicken, I used chicken thighs because it’s a small household and I am not feeding 15.  I will explain how use this recipe with a whole chicken as we go, but don’t be worried if you only see chicken thighs in the pictures.

First, I gathered all the ingredients together for frying.

Ingredients for Lime Chicken

I poured the oil into a pan,

Get the oil to a good temperature (dribble a couple drops of water into the oil, when it sizzles the oil is ready).  Then I liberally applied salt, pepper and dried cilantro leaves (or if you prefer ground coriander…same plant different name).

pepper on frying chicken

The dried cilantro leaves aren’t as potent as the ground coriander.  Dried leaves take up more room then ground, so you need a little more dried leaves then of the ground spice.

Once the chicken was thoroughly coated, I placed the chicken into the frying pan, turning every 3-5 minutes.  If you are using a whole chicken, cut the chicken in half, coat as you would the thighs and brown the same way.  You just have one very large piece to turn instead of several smaller pieces.

Once the chicken has browned and partially cooked, pull from the pan and place the piece(s) on a plate.  Next, fry up the chopped onion in the spiced chicken broth and oil until translucent.  Place to the side.

Pull out a Dutch oven or a large clay-baking dish.  Lightly oil the bottom and place the lime quarters (or if you prefer rounds) in the dish.

deviened kafir leaves and limes

Mix the broth, fish sauce, saffron, thyme and kafir leaves together.

limes and kafir leaves for chicken

Put half the mixture over the lime wedges, then put the chicken thighs (or the whole chicken) over them.  Sprinkle the remaining spices over the chicken.

limes under and kafir over chicken

Over this place the almonds,

smothered in almondsYeah, here I added almost a whole cup of chopped almonds.  You really don’t want this many almonds.  It’s yummy crunchy fun, but a full cup is waaaay to much.  Scale down to about 1/2 or 1/4 depending on preference.

Then the pie crust.

trimming pastry crust

Next add small vents for the steam to escape from.

heat vents for pastry

This dish will be incredibly lime and chicken flavor.

chicken w roman carrots and barley salad

Here is the dish after pulling (messily) from my clay baking dish with Roman Carrots and a spinach and barely salad.  The meat, is tender and so many flavors you would almost swear there is an opera going on in your mouth.  The other flavors are the back up singer to this glorious dish!



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