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 Details

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

Active 20 mins
Total 45 mins
Serves 4 servings


  • 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.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
261 Calories
16g Fat
4g Carbs
28g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 261
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 20%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 138mg 46%
Sodium 1967mg 86%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 28g
Vitamin C 8mg 39%
Calcium 26mg 2%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 372mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)