Moroccan Chicken with tomato jam: Djaj be maticha ma’assla

If I literally translate the name of this dish to English, it should rather say Chicken with caramelized tomatoes.

Chicken with tomato jam is one of the easiest dishes in Morocco but it’s not very common. Its fame is limited to some regions and some posh restaurants.

Initially, this dish is served with the tomato jam only. Adding the dried apricots in
the sauce was a personal touch and it turned out amazing

The good thing about this dish is that you can make the tomato jam days ahead and even serve it as a spread or as a salad. 

Do not be shocked by the word salad; in Morocco, just like in some other Mediterranean countries, we have two types of salads/entrée : raw and cooked. 

I like to use nice plum tomatoes or any meaty tomato which will be peeled and deseeded. A slightly acid tomato is ok because it balances the sweetness of the jam.

Serves 2 
Prep: 20 min – cooking: 45 min

The chicken stew

  • 1 baby chicken (800 g to 1 kg), cleaned the Moroccan way (see here). You may cut the chicken in 2 to 4 pieces to fit the pot or keep it whole.
  • 1 yellow medium-size onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp of chopped coriander and parsley (you may as well make a small bouquet of these herbs and add it to the sauce. Depending on the regions, the herbs are optional)
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • 1 tsp of ground ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp of groud white pepper (or a mix white and black)
  • A pinch of saffron threads (toasted and crushed)
  • 1 tbsp of oil
  • 1 tsp of sugar

The tomato jam

  • 400 g of meaty tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 leveled tsp of cinnamon
  • A couple of crushed mastic gum lumps (optional)
  • 5 tbsp of fine sugar or clear honey
  • 2 tsps of olive oil
  • 1 tsp of orange blossom water (optional)

Garnishing (optional)

  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • A few leaves of coriander



Chicken stew/marq’a

In a enamel pot or a cooking Tagine, heat the oil. Add the chopped onion and cook for 2 min.

Add the chicken, the herbs and spices. Cover the chicken 2/3 of water and cover the pot.

Cook on medium-low heat for 40-50 min until the chicken is tender. Uncover and let it simmer until the liquid is fairly reduced.

Tomato jam (can be made ahead or while cooking the chicken stew)

Add 1 teaspoon of oil into a pan, add the cinnamon stick and the tomatoes. Simmer on medium heat. If the tomatoes need water add a couple of spoons.

Simmer for about 10 minutes while stirring. Add the sugar and the mastic gum, and stir for another 2 minutes. Add the cinnamon and stir for another 3 minutes or until the tomato jam has reduced to leave a thick paste. Add the left teaspoon of olive oil on top and cover.

This tomato jam can be served cold as a cooked salad or as a spread.

Assemling the chicken with tomato jam

Transfer the chicken stew to a serving dish. Place the tomato jam over the chicken pieces and sprinkle some sesame seeds.

Serve hot with Moroccan bread or a baguette.

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