Turmeric Chicken with Sumac and Lime from 'The New Persian Kitchen'

Sara Remington

Chicken thighs are a great answer to the endless Wednesday night "What's for dinner?" question. They cook fairly quickly and easily, and their rich interplay of fat and skin make them far more enjoyable than the average boneless, skinless, breast. Still, there are only so many versions of salted and roasted thighs I want to eat.

For a totally different take on the staple, enter Louisa Shafia's Turmeric Chicken with Sumac and Lime from The New Persian Kitchen. This super-simple braised dish is bright, tangy, and brilliantly yellow—it's a far cry from most muddled braised chicken dishes and even further from the typical roasted bird.

Why I picked this recipe: Turmeric, lime, and sumac seemed a curious but potentially awesome combination of flavors for a simple weeknight chicken dish.

What worked: For a dish with so short an ingredient list, this chicken was full of bright, tangy flavor.

What didn't: No problems here.

Suggested tweaks: You could substitute other cuts of chicken here if you'd like, but you'll likely have to alter the cooking time. Stay away from boneless breasts, however, as they are not good candidates for braising. Shafia suggests using portobello mushroom caps or slabs of firm tofu as vegetarian substitues.

Reprinted with permission from The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia. Copyright 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.

Recipe Facts



Active: 20 mins
Total: 45 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 juicy limes, halved
  • Sumac, for garnish


  1. In a small bowl, mix the turmeric with 1 tablespoon salt and 2 teaspoons pepper. Place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with the spice mixture, turning to coat both sides.

  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Brown the chicken well on both sides, about 7 minutes per side. Pour in the water, then add the garlic, stirring it into the water. Bring the water to a boil, then turn down the heat to low and cover. Braise the chicken for 25 minutes, until the inside is opaque. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter, turn up the heat to high, and reduce the cooking liquid for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until it’s slightly thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and pour the sauce over the chicken.

  3. Dust the chicken with sumac and pepper, garnish with lime halves, and serve.

  4. Vegetarian Option: Use whole portobello mushrooms in place of the chicken, or use 1 pound firm tofu, well drained and cut into slabs 1 inch thick. You will need a little extra oil for searing than what is called for in the recipe.