The world of Moroccan Kadras : Kadra with chickpeas and potatoes

If you have any link with Fez and have been brought up eating Fassi food, you might have gone to a saturation point with Kadra type of cooking.

Kadra (Kdra) is a sort of broth-y stew which is cooked in a deep pot and never in a tagine. It has very defined range of spices in it and it must have smen (Moroccan cured and preserved butter) and butter. Kadra’s broth is usually lighter than a Mqalli’s marqa (sauce).

Kadra is also pronounced “Guedra” in some areas, which refers to a sort of deep pot it’s cooked in.

The cheap version of kadra is made using chickpeas and chicken and the posher version uses pigeons and blanched almonds (see next post) which should cook to tenderness along with the broth (never toasted or fried).

Kadra varies from a soup to a dish with less broth. For today, I’ll be sharing one of the versions from the second category.

When we serve a big family with children, we tend to add potatoes which are always everyone’s favourite and do very well with the rest of the ingredients.

To my fellow Fassi people, I know you think that adding ginger to Kadra is a sacrilege but give it a go and see how you were missing on a wonderful dimension of this very old dish. More people in my family are adopting it.

A family presentation of Kadra with chickpeas and potatoes. Note the generous amount
of the clear broth calling for a good Moroccan bread

You could substitute the chicken with pigeons (more traditional) or rabbit.

Serves 8 -10 
Prep: 10 min – Cooking: 70 min by pressure cooker- 2h  for regular pot

  • 2 chickens of 1.5 kg each or 3 baby chickens (see tutorial here on how to prepare chicken for Moroccan cooking)
  • 1 kg of white/yellow onions, finely sliced or chopped
  • 200 – 250g of chickpeas, pre-soaked overnight and peeled
  • 750 to 900 g of potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes or wedges
  • 1 tbsp of turmeric
  • 1 tsp of ground ginger (not in a Traditional Fassi version)
  • A good pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 tsp of finely ground white/black pepper (mix)
  • 1 cinnamon stick, about 6 cm tall
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp of smen (or 3 tbps of butter, but it’s less interesting)
  • 2 tbsps of vegetable oil
  • A handful of chopped parsley

Option: to make Another version of Kadra called Kadra Touimiya, omit potatoes and replace chickpeas with whole blanched almonds.

Kadra’s broth has to be “clean” and yellow. It mainly relies on saffron, turmeric and aged butter


Cut each baby chicken into 4 pieces or 6 pieces if you are using bigger chicken.

In a deep pot, add a few tablespoons of water, the equivalent of a couple of chopped or sliced onions., oil, the chicken pieces, the spices, the peeled chickpeas. Cover with water and cover the pot with a lid. Cook over medium heat. Add water should you see that it’s needed.

A version of Kadra with almonds (Kadra Touimiya), cooking in the pot

Once the chicken is tender, fish it out, cover it with clean film or in another pot with a lid. Add the rest of the onions and carry on cooking them until they’re all withered, mostly melted and the chickpeas are definitely cooked through. Make sure this is happening on medium heat. Add water if needed.

Add potatoes and half of parsley. Cook until potatoes are cooked through.

Before serving, return the chicken to the broth, correct the seasoning and add the rest of the chopped parsley and smen (or butter). Give it a few minutes to heat up over medium heat.

Serve hot with a good Moroccan bread, Turkish pide or a baguette.

Note: This dish is not to the type of food served in Restaurants, it’s a family dish which is part of the culinary repertoire of a few Moroccan cities only (Fez, Meknes, Taza, Rabat, Marrakesh) with a few variations in spices.

3 thoughts on “The world of Moroccan Kadras : Kadra with chickpeas and potatoes

  1. Anonymous

    Hi lovely made it yesterday and taste delicious and delicate. I used home made ghee from farm butter I get in Normandy. I need to find out about smen. But in the recipe I can't see when you add the amen or butter? Looking forward to the left over. I bet it will be even tastier. Thanks for you blog! Francoise


  2. Oh that's because I forgot about it. lol.. Smen can be added in the beginning or a few minutes from the end of the cooking process. It is a bit pungent, a bit like blue cheese..I'll have to add it. Thanks for letting me know.


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