Pot roasts, oranges, dates, jams, puddings, pies and ginger are some of the things that immediately bring to mind a cheerful household and so many references to holiday season food from the classic literature that I grew up reading. In my mind these foods are equivalent to happiness. I include a lot of these things in my winter and special occasions menu.

This Middle Eastern inspired Orange and Dates Glazed Chicken has few simple ingredients but makes a spectacular meal. Tender chicken breasts cooked and coated in luscious dates and orange sauce, garnished with pomegranate seeds and fresh mint leaves have a huge WOW factor. You can call it the beauty of simplicity.

As always my effort here is to plate up a delicious meal, easy to cook, made with things available in your fridge and pantry and most importantly it’s on the healthier side as the sauce for this glazed chicken is flavoured with all natural ingredients. You can substitute paprika with red chilli flakes for a hotter version and garnish the chicken with your favourite fresh herbs instead of pomegranate and mint. It can also be baked but my favourite way of cooking chicken breasts is on stove top as it is quicker and makes juicier chicken.


4 chicken breasts ( 1/2 kg)
10 dates
4 oranges
1/2 inch piece ginger
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon cumin powder
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pomegranate seeds and fresh mint leaves for garnishing( optional)

This Is What You Do:

Soak dates in 1 cup hot water for 10 minutes and set aside.

Meanwhile make long slits on chicken breasts and marinate them in 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper and 2 tablespoons lemon juice for 10 minutes.

When the dates are soft, remove the stones and add dates pulp along with the water to a food processor. Also add ginger, juice from 2 oranges, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, thyme, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon paprika to the food processor. Blend to make a smooth purée.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Roast the breast fillet till they are lovely golden colour on outside and the juices are sealed in ( for 4-5 minutes).

Pour the dates and orange sauce on top. Cover the pan and let the chicken cook in the sauce till the chicken is done and sauce thickened to a jam like consistency, 10-12 minutes. Taste the sauce for the balance of sweet and sour. Add a little more lemon juice if you prefer it on sour side.

Slice the remaining orange into thin rounds. Spread them onto a plate. Place the chicken breasts over them. Pour the sauce from the pan on top of the chicken.

Garnish with pomegranate seeds and mint leaves.
Serve warm with your favourite bread or just some salad.

Serves 2

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