For our latest installment of Cooking Around the World, I had absolutely no options. The only country beginning with the letter “O” is Oman. No anticipation while the random number generator did it’s thing. No hoping for or dreading a particular outcome. Just starting research. And you know what? This was a difficult country to research! While Oman has history dating back hundreds of years, a national cuisine was harder to pin down.
Eventually, I found a recipe for chicken maraq, which is essentially a chicken stew. Unfortunately, this seems to be more of a regional dish than a national dish (so we might see something similar when I’m faced with Yemen in a few weeks), but beggars can’t be choosers. Overall, we were very pleased with this dish. I had to improvise a bit — much like my dish from Bahrain, I couldn’t find dried limes — but I made do. And it was so flavorful! Between the lime juice and the spices, the broth was so bright and distinct from what I’d typically expect from a stew. Even my husband, who is still reticent to eat dark meat, was in love with how tender this was.
This might not be a trip to Oman specifically. But I tried my best, so let’s just pretend, okay? Wherever this is authentically from, it’s absolutely delicious!
Chicken Maraq – Omani Chicken Stew
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 – 6 bone in, skin removed chicken thighs
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp dried cilantro
- 1 tbsp cumin
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp pepper
- A few whole cloves
- 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- Juice of ½ a lime
- 5 cups vegetable stock
- 3 medium potatoes, peeled and chunked
- Heat butter over medium heat in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Sauté onion until translucent.
- Add chicken to pan and brown on all sides.
- Add garlic, spices, tomatoes, tomato paste, and lime juice, and stir to combine. Cook for a few minutes until fragrant.
- Add stock, bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
- Stir in potato chunks and cook for another 15-20 minutes until potatoes are cooked through.