This recipe for Balochi chicken sajji with rice comes from the nomadic tribes of Balochistan and has the simple charm and honesty of their uncomplicated living style.

Sajji is slow roasted meat – traditionally, a whole lamb stuffed with rice, as lamb is very popular with Balochis who usually farm goats and sheep. In urban areas, however, sajji is preferably cooked with chicken.

Chicken sajji is served with both delicious onion and dates fried rice and a special roti, “kaak”, which is in Balochistan baked over hard hot stone. Although it’s a great recipe for outdoors, I have tried to recreate it within the convenience of my own kitchen.

The sajji and the bread both are baked in the oven, and I’m happy to say the result is very delicious. The chicken turned out so tasty, falling off the bones, that I’m planning to roast some more to use later on for sandwiches, burgers and pita pockets.

The bread has a wonderful salty biscuit-like texture. I made five breads; three of them were eaten with lunch, the other two have disappeared from the fridge between lunch and dinner πŸ˜‰ You can find the recipe for this special kind of bread (“kaak”) here.

In this recipe, I used saffron, which is quite expensive and may not be easily available in many places, so you can skip it as it won’t effect the taste of the dish much. Saffron basically adds to the aroma and colour of the rice. You can use 1/4 teaspoon turmeric instead.

I have used skinless chicken because no one in my family likes the skin bit. You can bake it with skin on. In that case don’t make slits on the chicken.

Ingredients:

For Balochi Chicken Sajji:

1 whole chicken (1 kg)
3 table spoons ginger-garlic paste
4 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 black cardamoms (badi alychee)
2 teaspoons dried pomegranate seeds (anar dana)
2 teaspoons cumin seeds (zeera)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds (saunf)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds (dhanya)

For Rice:

2 cups long grain basmati rice
2 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 + 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 stick cinnamon
2 black cardamoms
4 green cardamoms
10 dates, pitted and chopped
A few strands saffron soaked in 2 tablespoons milk (optional)

This Is What You Do:

For Balochi Chicken Sajji:

Mix vinegar, ginger-garlic paste, salt and pepper in a bowl.

Place whole chicken in an oven proof dish, pour the vinegar marinade over chicken, rub it thoroughly all over it, even inside the cavity. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (better overnight).

Preheat oven to 175C/350F. Roast all the spices on a skillet for 1-2 minutes. Grind all the spices in a dry mill or grinder till powdered.

Rub half of the ground spices all over chicken, cover and bake for 1 hour.

Meanwhile prepare the rice.

For Rice:

Boil rice with green cardamoms, black cardamoms, cinnamon stick and 2 teaspoons salt. When they are near done, strain water. Heat oil in a deep pan, fry onions till golden brown. Add garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, add 1/4 cup water. Let the masala simmer till it turns a lovely golden brown shade, add dates and fry, add rice and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add milk and saffron, stir fry another minute. Turn the heat off.

After an hour take out the chicken, spread cooked rice all around it and stuff some in the cavity.

Drizzle some juices from the chicken over it, bake another 15-20 minutes uncovered. Sprinkle the remaining ground spices over chicken sajji, garnish with your favourite nuts if desired and serve hot.

Serves 4

22 Replies to “Balochi Chicken Sajji with Rice”

    1. Shahid Khurshid, ji bilkul! Use the same spices. I think the result should be even better with cooking on fire.
      Hope you will enjoy!

    1. Hi Sandeep,

      No, the chicken is skinless and no oil used either. It cooks covered, in its own juices and the marinade that’s why stays, moist and soft. Perfect for a low cholesterol diet πŸ™‚ Thank you for stopping by the blog, hope you’ll enjoy πŸ™‚

    2. in actual recipe as served in Pakistan the chicken is with skin. Which provides the fat as well. it becomes so delicious with skinned chicken because when sajji is bar b qued, the skin becomes crispy n yum ..

      1. Dear Sabeen, keeping skin on is totally a matter of personal taste. In my family nobody enjoys eating the skin plus it’s loaded with fat. Cooking it without skin is definitely a healthier option and you will find that this recipe has not compromised on taste at all πŸ˜‰

    1. Hina, if you want to make a healthier version you can definitely use brown rice but of course the taste would be different.

    2. Hina I have never tried making it with brown rice because my family loves long grained basmati but I know it will be a healthier version. If you try, do tell me how it turned out πŸ™‚

  1. I tried this recipe, and turned out to be amazing!
    It was easy to make, not alot of cutting chopping.
    Above all my husband loved it very much.
    U r right. It is a hidden recipe in our own country.
    A friend of husband mentioned ‘sajji’.i thought it was some kind of fruit or plant, but when I googled, I was surprised what I found.

  2. Are the ingredients hard to find? I don’t think I have ever seen Pomegranate seeds, do you actually buy one and get the seeds out of it?

    1. No Doris, the ingredients are very easily available, specially if you have an Indian/Pakistani/ middle eastern grocery store near you.Drying pomegranate seeds would take days, dribble some lemon juice instead over the chicken just before serving.

  3. Thanks Ash, this is one of the hidden recipes even in our own country, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Yes the Lebanese Kaak is totally different from Balochi Kaak πŸ™‚

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *