This is one of our family-favorite chicken dishes of all. You might ask if I ever post anything that is not our favorite? Good question! No, I do not post anything thatÂ our family members or I do not enjoy. Every single dish youÂ find in our blog is straight from our kitchen and is prepared for consumption :)
Chicken Tabaka is a Georgian dish that was very famous in Uzbekistan during the Soviet Union era. The deal is, you have to have a small Cornish Hen for this dish to be successful. Since there is no process of marinating the chicken beforehand, the smaller the chicken, the juicer and the better it gets cooked. If you use regular chicken, it is going to come out pretty dry and not as good as the Cornish Hen.
This particular recipe belongs to my dad. For years, I used to watch him make Chicken Tabaka for us. Nowhere else have I had such a good tasting hen. I continue his tradition with the spices and often prepare it for my family now. I hope you like it as much as we do!
- 1 whole Cornish Hen (8 oz, I use two hens to feed the family)
- salt to taste
- generous pinch of freshly ground pepper
- 2 Tbsp of coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp of cumin powder
- 2 Tbsp of oil
- 1/2 cup water
Wash the hen thoroughly. Towel dry it, put it breast side up. Making sure that the hen remains in one piece, use a sharp knife and slice down the middle of the breastbone in order to separate the rib cage. Turn the hen over and using a meat tenderizer flatten the chicken nicely.
Grind coriander seeds, mix it with cumin and black pepper. Liberally rub the hen with salt first. Once that’s done thoroughly rub the hen with ready spice mixture from both sides.
Heat the skillet on medium-high heat, put the oil in the skillet and heat a little more. Place the hen on the skillet, cover the hen with a sturdy plate or a smaller lid (just to cover the hen), press it nicely with something heavy. If you have those special kitchen weights, that’s great. If you do not, you can use anything around you. If you have a big clean rock you can use that as well. Or you can simply fill a kettle with water and gently press it on top of the plate. The idea is to give the hen enough press to keep it flat, once the cooking time is over.
Flip the hen every 2 minutes for the first 16 minutes. Every time, you will need to take off the weight and the plate to flip the chicken. So, use caution, do not get burnt. Also, watch the temperature. If you feel like your hen is getting burnt, turn the heat down a little. Everyone’s stove top is different.
Once the 15 minutes are up, the chicken should have a nice golden brown color and have a nice crust. Turn down the heat to medium-low, add just a little bit of water and cover the skillet with a lid. Keep the chicken in the skillet for another 5-8 minutes on each side.
You can serve the hen with vegetables, rice or mashed potatoes. We enjoy our chicken without any sides, but with a nice home-made tomato sauce. Trust me, this is the best way to consume the hen! :)
Ingredients for the sauce:
- 1-2 garlic cloves minced or nicely chopped
- 4 Tbsp of cilantro chopped
- 1-2 cups of tomato juice
- 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
- pinch salt if needed
Mix everything well and enjoy the hen with a warm bread dipped in the sauce!