The bakers in Amman come from the many countries that surround Jordan, and many are refugees, but bread is a reminder of who you are and where you are from.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (125 votes)

“Bread is so important in the cooking of the Middle East and there are breads that are particular for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The bakers in Amman come from the many countries that surround Jordan, and many are refugees, but bread is a reminder of who you are and where you are from. This recipe is based on a bread called taboun from Palestine: chicken spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and sumac is placed on lightly caramelised onions and is traditionally baked in a bread oven. All the flavours of the chicken and onions seep into the bread to make a heavenly dish that you just have to dig into and eat with your hands!” Ainsley Harriott, Ainsley Harriott’s Street Food


  • 2 tbsp sumac
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • good pinch of sea salt
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 chicken breasts with wing bone attached, trimmed
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
  • 675 g small onions, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 4 large thick flatbreads (taboun, lavash or Syrian saj, depending on what you can find)
  • good handful roasted red and green chillies
  • 50 g toasted blanched almonds
  • 2 good handfuls coriander leaves

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Marinating time 3 hours or overnight

Combine the sumac, nutmeg, cinnamon, black pepper and sea salt in a small bowl. Set aside 2 teaspoons, then add the lemon juice to the remaining spice mix. Rub the mixture all over the chicken, then place in a non-metallic dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight if time permits.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, then sprinkle over the reserved spice mixture and toss gently to coat. Add 80 ml (⅓ cup) water, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes or until the onion is completely softened but still holding its shape. Transfer to a bowl with all the juices and allow to cool.

Wipe out the pan and place over medium heat. Add the remaining olive oil and when hot, cook the chicken pieces until lightly golden all over.

Arrange the flatbreads in an overlapping layer in a large, lightly oiled shallow baking dish or a large roasting tin. Spoon over the softened onion mixture, then top with the chicken pieces and drizzle any pan juices on top. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through and tender. Scatter over the roasted chillies, almonds and coriander, then place in the centre of the table for everyone to help themselves.


Ainsley Harriott’s Street Food starts Thursday 6 August 2015 at 8.30pm on SBS and finishes 1 October 2015. Visit the Ainsley Harriott’s Street Food program page to catch-up on episodes online, scroll through recipes and read our interview with Ainsley.