Recipe inspired by Tufenkian Kharpet Restaurant in Yerevan, Armenia
My life in several capitals taught me to avoid touristy and fancy restaurants. In many cases, they are significantly overrated. The food is mundane; the service is mediocre, and the staff is usually demotivated to accommodate a tourist, whom they probably won’t see again. Sad but true!
That said, a few exceptions occur every now and then. Centrally located in the heart of Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, Tufenkian Kharpet restaurant serves refined traditional Armenian cuisine and scores high among expats. While I tried few dishes there, this dish of coriander-orange glazed chicken does stand out. The spice note released by the toasted coriander seeds ,to say the least, was pleasantly surprising. It perfectly complements the orange glaze and steals the show.
This chicken dish is a light and elegant quick fix for company or a family weekday dinner. I cooked this dish solely relying on my palate’s memory. Didn’t have the guts to ask for a recipe at an upscale restaurant that brags about its secret ingredients?!
While optional, brining the chicken one day ahead of cooking takes this dish to new heights. The brine transforms the chicken into a juicy white canvas, with no barrier before the marinade to impart its flavors.
Coriander-Orange Glazed Chicken Recipe
For the chicken brine:
4 to 5 cups of water
One head of garlic halved
One onion halved
1 teaspoon of whole pepper seeds
1/4 cup of kosher salt
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
For the marinade:
The zest of one orange
Salt and pepper
Red pepper flakes (optional)
For the glaze:
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup honey or agave nectar
The juice of two oranges
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger or ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds (see notes)
2 tablespoons canola oil or more if needed.
1 tablespoon butter
- Brine the chicken. Add all ingredients to a big pot and bring to a simmer on a medium heat for 20-25 min until the garlic and the onions wilt. Turn off the heat and let it cool completely (you can add some ice cubes to speed this step up). Add the chicken to the brine and keep it in fridge overnight.
- Pat the chicken dry. Mix together the salt, pepper, orange zest and olive oil. Rub the mixture over and under the skin of the chicken and set it aside.
- Make the glaze. Bring orange juice, wine, honey or agave nectar along with the spices to boil in a medium sauce pan. Lower the heat and let the mixture simmer for few more minutes until it is slightly thickened.
- Melt butter and oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until hot but not smoky. Add chicken pieces to the hot skillet. Brown both sides of chicken until the skin is golden and crispy. Pour glaze over the chicken, reduce heat to simmer. Baste the chicken occasionally with the glaze. Insert a knife in the thickest part of the chicken; if juices run clear, turn off the heat.
- Serve chicken hot, possibly on a bed of white rice, quinoa or couscous to soak up the sauce. I personally pair it with either brown jasmine rice or spelt and they are both equally delicious.
- To ensure doneness and even browning, chicken should come to room temperature first before adding it to the hot sauté pan.
- To enhance the spice note, in a dry pan toast the whole coriander seeds before crushing them.