French Chicken Casserole Makeover

Yudhika Sujanani takes your taste buds on a spice adventure as she shows you how to revamp “old favorites “dishes with a bit sugar and a hint of spice. On the menu is a delicious French Casserole with a touch of Saffron, an aromatic Egyptian spiced Dukkah Spiced Butternut & Prawn Salad and for dessert; she prepares a gorgeous Chocolate Pecan Nut pie with Dates.


  • 8 large chicken thighs, skin on
  • 20ml sunflower oil, to seal chicken
  • 30ml sunflower oil
  • 12 – 15 cloves garlic, in their skins
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 – 2 bay leaves
  • 5ml cumin seeds
  • 5ml coriander seeds
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 large leek, chopped or thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 5ml green chilli
  • 10ml chilli flakes
  • 250ml white wine
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 stock cube
  • 250ml boiled water
  • 2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained
  • 30ml honey
  • Chopped parsley, to garnish
  • Chopped coriander, to garnish


  1. Heat a pan and pour in the sunflower oil.
  2. Place the thighs into the pan with the skin side facing down.
  3. Turn them over when the skin is golden brown and remove from the pan when the chicken thighs are evenly browned.
  4. Heat a 30cm gourmet roaster ( or shallow pot )and heat 30ml sunflower oil.
  5. Fry the garlic cloves in their skins until pale golden.
  6. Remove the cloves from the oil and leave aside.
  7. In the same oil, add the cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cumin and coriander seeds.
  8. Fry the whole spices until fragrant and turn a shade darker.
  9. Add the chopped onion and season with salt.
  10. Fry until the onion is light golden, then add the leeks and carrots. 
  11. When the carrots and leeks soften slightly, add the green chilli, chilli flakes and garlic cloves.
  12. Place the sealed chicken into the roaster and pour in the white wine.
  13. Sprinkle the saffron strands into the pan and pour in the boiled water.
  14. Crumble the stock cube over the chicken.
  15. Reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through.
  16. Add the chickpeas and honey.
  17. Simmer until the chickpeas heat through, soften and absorb the sauce.
  18. Garnish with fresh coriander and chopped parsley.