Zigni (Chicken stew)

The UNHCR Canada just released a beautiful cookbook “Tastes from Home: Recipes from the Refugee Community” with more than 100 pages of colorful photos, recipes, and stories of refugees residing in Canada.

It is free for you to download here. In addition, for every copy downloaded, an anonymous donor will be making a donation to the UNHCR in support of refugees and their families.

I downloaded it and can assure you that you will enjoy it and support the refugee community at the same time.  The stories of displacement are very personal and moving – one came from my home country, Vietnam, others came from places that I’ve followed from the news. And of course, the recipes and photos are wonderful.

Zigni (chicken stew)

(Adapted from UNHCR’s cookbook and The Daring Gourmet)

2 lbs chicken thighs (cut into 1″ cubes)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbs butter + 1 tbs olive oil
2 yellow onions (peeled, roughly chopped)
4 garlic cloves (minced)
1/2″ fresh ginger root (minced)
2 tomatoes (coarsely chopped)
3 tbs berbe spice (or substitute with 2 tbs sweet paprika + 1 tsp turmeric powder + 1 tsp ground ginger + 1 tsp ground cinnamon + 1 tsp ground nutmeg + 1/2 tsp salt
3 tbs butter
1 tsp honey
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper
5 hard-boiled eggs

  1. In a bowl, marinate chicken with lemon juice. Set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Use a handheld blender to puree chopped yellow onions.
  3. In a cast-iron stockpot, heat 2 tbs butter + 1 tbs olive oil over medium heat.
  4. Add onion puree. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, until brown and soften.
    • Note: stir occasionally and check if the onion is burnt. Add butter or a dash of water if needed.
  5. Add minced garlic + minced ginger + chopped tomatoes + 3 tbs berbe (or substituted ground spices) + 3 tbs butter.
  6. Cover and cook for another 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  7. Add chicken pieces and cook uncovered for 2-3 minutes.
  8. Add 1 tsp honey + 1 cup chicken stock + salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Once the sauce is boiled, turn the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  10. Add the hard boiled eggs and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  11. Serve hot with injera or rice.