Two recipes from the kitchen star Dalia Dogmoch Soubra

Recipes from Dalia Dogmoch Soubra's forthcoming cookbook.

A photo of za'atar chicken, taken from Dalia Dogmoch Soubra's cookbook Food, Love & Life (2013).Courtesy Sukaina Rajabali
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Za'atar chicken

(serves four)

Prep time 1 hour 10 minutes

Cooking time 1 hour


3 tbsp za'atar (a blend of Middle Eastern dried herbs - thyme and sumac - with sesame seeds)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 to 4 tbsp lemon juice

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp salt

2 baby chickens, about 2lb each, cleaned and spatchcocked

cracked black pepper to taste

1/4 cup pomegranate seeds


Preheat oven to 200ºC.

In a small bowl, whisk the za'atar, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt into a thick paste.

Rub the spice paste all over the chickens and let them marinate in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably longer.

Roast on a rack in the oven for 30 minutes uncovered. Reduce the temperature to 180ºC and roast for another 20 to 30 minutes or until a thermometer registers 77ºC (170ºF) when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh, and the juices run clear when pricked with the tip of a knife. Let them rest, tented with foil, for 10 minutes before carving. Scatter the pomegranate seeds over the chicken.

Serve with a green salad or some roasted potatoes.

How to spatchcock a chicken

Place the chicken on a board, breast side down. Using a sharp knife or scissors, cut out the entire neck bone and spine. Turn the chicken on the breast side and press it flat with all your strength.

Halaweh & pistachio ice cream

(makes about 1.5 litres)

Prep time 10 minutes

Freezing time 4 hours in total


3 cups heavy cream

1 cup evaporated milk

1/3 cup caster sugar

seeds of half a vanilla bean

4 egg yolks

2 cups crumbled halaweh with pistachios

1/4 cup chopped pistachios, to garnish


Heat a heavy bottomed saucepan over a medium heat with the cream, milk, sugar, vanilla seeds and pod, until everything comes to the boil. Remove the pod.

In a bowl, whisk the yolks until they turn pale yellow then add a little of the hot cream mixture and whisk vigorously.

Once everything is mixed together, return the mixture to the saucepan and simmer for two to three minutes, whisking vigorously until the custard thickens a little. Strain through a sieve.

Chill the custard for at least three hours, according to your ice cream machine's instructions.

Once the ice cream has the right consistency, fold in the halaweh.

Freeze for at least one more hour before serving. When serving, sprinkle with chopped pistachios.

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