Baharat Chicken with Vegetable Lemon Rice – the Middle Eastern Paella!

This recipe is like a Middle Eastern Paella, prepared and cooked in one pan in under an hour. The chicken is succulent, seasoned in a Baharat spice blend and accompanied by a healthy serving of vegetable lemon rice.

What is Baharat?

Baharat is a warm spice blend known as the Middle Eastern equivalent of India’s garam masala. It is used extensively as a dry rub in all meats and fish, a vegetable topping or in curries and tajines. In Arabic, Baharat means spices, and although the blend varies from region to region, it usually contains the same ingredients of cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon and paprika.

I have included a recipe to make a homemade Baharat blend to add to the Baharat chicken marinade. 

Cooking Times

Once the chicken has marinated in the Baharat spice blend and oil for several hours, this rice dish is prepared on the stove in under an hour.

I normally select par-boiled brown rice when I make this dish for my family as it cooks faster and adds a nice wholesome touch to the dish. In the recipe card, I have listed the different cooking times for four types of rice grain.

Want to cook the chicken without the rice?

If you rather leave out the rice and just enjoy the chicken, simply grill the chicken pieces on a hot skillet or roast it for 20 mins in a hot oven. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with coriander, lemon juice and a few slices of red chillis. Serve it with a fresh garden salad and some Baharat spiced yoghurt on the side.

An adobe photo of baharat chicken
table setting of baharat chicken

Baharat Chicken with Vegetable Lemon Rice

by Sandra, Fun Without Gluten
This recipe is like a Middle Eastern Paella, prepared and cooked in one pan in under an hour. The chicken is succulent, seasoned in a Baharat spice blend and accompanied by a healthy serving of vegetable lemon rice.
All the ingredients and instructions for the homemade Baharat spice blend, Baharat chicken and the vegetable lemon rice are listed in this recipe card.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Marinating Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 5


  • Large frying pan with a lid (or use foil to cover)
  • Food processor, for the spice blend, or
  • Mortar and pestle



  • 1 tbsp black pepper, whole
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds, whole
  • ½ tbsp coriander seeds, whole
  • 1 tbsp unsmoked sweet paprika powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder, or
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 2 tsp cardamom powder, or
  • 8 * green cardamom pods, crushed slightly
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder, or
  • 1 dried chilli
  • ½ tsp sea salt


Chicken Marinade

  • 6 chicken thigh fillets, skin and bone removed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp store-bought or homemade Baharat spice blend
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (to be added at the end of marinating time)

Cooking the Chicken

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Cooking the Vegetable Lemon Rice

  • 1 red onion, chopped coarsely
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 150 g white or brown mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 1-2 fresh or pickled green chilli (optional)
  • 1 sliver lemon peel
  • 250 g brown or white long-grain or par-boiled rice, rinsed & drained
  • 50 g whole roasted almonds, halved
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 400 ml store-bought or homemade chicken stock

To Serve

  • 3 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, to garnish
  • 1 lemon, cut in wedges, to serve
  • 4 tbsp Greek yoghurt mixed with some Baharat spice, to serve in a small bowl
  • Store-bought harissa chilli paste, to serve in a small bowl
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved, to serve
  • ½ cucumber, sliced, to serve
  • 1 green pepper/capsicum, sliced
  • rocket/arugula leaves, to garnish around the platter



  • Fry the black peppercorns, cumin & coriander seeds, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and cloves in a dry pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes or until the aroma is released and the seeds start to pop. Stir constantly.
  • Allow the spices to cool.
  • * Remove and keep the seeds from the cardamom pods after roasting and discard the pods before grinding.
  • Grind the spices with the remaining spice seasoning ingredients in a food processor or crush them slowly in a mortar and pestle.


    Marinating the Chicken

    • Add the Baharat spice to the chicken followed by the olive oil to create a paste and mix well using gloved hands or with a spoon.
    • Cover and marinate in the fridge for 1 hour in a glass or ceramic bowl. Leaving it overnight to marinate longer will develop more flavour.
    • Remove the chicken from the fridge and add the lemon juice to the chicken, stirring it well into the paste. Set aside to come to room temperature for 20 minutes.

    Cooking the Chicken

    • Heat a medium, deep, frying pan or wok (that has a matching lid or use foil to cover later) over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
    • Sear the chicken for 2 minutes on each side and set aside on a plate covered with some foil. Do not overcook the chicken, the idea is just to sear the outside of the chicken. The inside will be cooked later with the rice.

    Cooking the Vegetable Lemon Rice

    • In the same pan, fry the onions for 2 minutes, stirring.
    • Add the mushrooms, green chilli, garlic and lemon peel, fry for 5 minutes. Set aside on a separate plate.
    • Pour the rice into the pan and stir well for 2 minutes.
    • Add the almonds, tomato puree, lemon juice and chicken stock, lower the heat to medium-low.
    • Mix in the mushroom mixture and place the chicken pieces with any leftover chicken juices on top of the rice. Cover the pan with the lid or foil. Do not mix the chicken into the rice.
    • Simmer on medium-low at the following times depending on the type of rice:
      15 minutes for par-boiled white rice
      25 minutes for long-grain white rice
      20 mins for par-boiled brown rice
      35-40 minutes for long-grain brown rice
    • During the last 5 minutes of cooking, check to see if the rice needs any more liquid and taste-test the rice to see if it is starting to soften.

    To Serve

    • Once the rice is cooked, remove the lid and sprinkle fresh coriander leaves and squeeze some lemon from the wedges over the rice and chicken.
    • Serve with cucumber slices & Baharat spiced yoghurt, fresh tomato segments, lemon wedges, green peppers, a handful of rocket leaves and some harissa chilli paste.


    • Keeps for 2 days chilled
    • Suitable to freeze
    Serving suggestion
    Stir-fried Pimientos de Padron (Spanish baby peppers) sprinkled with some sea salt goes well with this dish.
    If preferred, once the Baharat chicken is cooked, cut the chicken in even slices and return them back to the rice.
    Slicing the baharat chicken
    Keyword gluten-free chicken dish, gluten-free middle eastern, gluten-free rice dish, gluten-free spice blend
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
    Please mention @fun_without_gluten or tag #funwithoutgluten!
    GDPR Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner