A chicken thigh dish topped with pomegranates

Syrian chicken with bulgur wheat (burghul bl jaj)

  • serves 2
  • Easy

Transform chicken thighs with fragrant cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and cumin, then serve on top of raisin-studded bulgur wheat for a colourful dinner. This recipe comes from Imad’s Syrian kitchen in London.


Try this recipe for burghul bl ja, then check out more of Imad’s Syrian recipes such as Syrian baba ghanoj and Syrian falafel, plus these Syrian-inspired barazek shortbreads. Also browse our collection of Middle Eastern meze recipes for the perfect party platter.



  • whole chicken thighs 4
  • white wine vinegar 1 tbsp
  • rock salt 1 tbsp
  • olive oil 2 tbsp
  • cumin seeds 1 tbsp
  • cardamom pods 3
  • cinnamon stick 1
  • black peppercorns crushed to make ½ tsp
  • cloves 3
  • onion 1, roughly chopped
  • chopped tomatoes 200g
  • mixed spice 1 tsp
  • raisins 2 tbsp
  • bulgur wheat 200g
  • flat-leaf parsley a small handful, to serve
  • pomegranate seeds to serve (optional)
  • sumac a pinch, to serve (optional)
  • butternut squash boiled, to serve (optional)


  • Step 1

    Toss the chicken thighs with the vinegar and rock salt in a bowl, then remove and pat dry with kitchen paper

  • Step 2

    Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the cumin seeds. Once sizzling, add the cardamom, cinnamon, peppercorns and cloves. Stir for 1 minute. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until golden.

  • Step 3

    Add the tomatoes, mixed spice and 1 tsp of salt. Cover and simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes, stirring regularly.

  • Step 4

    Add the chicken and cook for 35 minutes more, until the chicken is cooked through, stirring every once in a while.

  • Step 5

    Scoop the chicken thighs onto a non-stick tray. Add the raisins and bulgur wheat to the pan. The mixture should just cover the bulgur – if it doesn’t, add enough just-boiled water to do so. Bubble on a low heat for 15-20 minutes until the bulgur is tender.

  • Step 6

    Meanwhile, grill the chicken under a medium heat for 10 minutes until the skin is golden.

  • Step 7

    To serve, spoon the bulgur wheat onto a serving plate, top with the chicken, parsley, pomegranate seeds and sumac, if you like.

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Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 713
  • Fat 21.7g
  • Saturates 4.1g
  • Carbs 82.7g
  • Sugars 18.5g
  • Fibre 16g
  • Protein 38.8g
  • Salt 3.9g