Za'atar Chicken & Rice Bowl with Pomegranate Seeds

A flavorful and filling rice bowl inspired by Egyptian flavors.

2 large bowls

Time: 45 mins

By Ethan Chlebowski

This recipe is inspired by the Egyptian KG BBQ Truck in Austin, TX. These are my preferred spices and toppings but feel free to customize the bowl to your liking or what you have in the fridge.

Ethan Chlebowski

Ethan Chlebowski



  • Za'atar spiced chicken

    • chicken breasts
      2450 g
    • salt
      a sprinkle
    • cooking oil
      a drizzle
    • za'atar
      1 part
    • garam masala
      1 part
    • sumac
      1 part
    • cumin
      1 part
  • Yellow rice

    • basmati rice
      100 g1 part
    • water
      150 g1.5 parts
    • chicken bouillon powder
      , or paste
      a spoonful
    • onions
      , finely diced
    • garlic
      , minced
      1-2 cloves
    • turmeric powder
      5 ga spoonful
    • cooking oil
      a drizzle
    • salt
      as needed
  • Toppings

    • pomegranate seeds
    • almonds
      , whole or sliced
    • feta
      , crumbled
    • parsley
      , roughly chopped
    • red onions
      , thinly sliced
    • yogurt
    • hot sauce


Step 1: Make the rice

Add a drizzle of oil to coat the bottom of a pot or pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and turmeric to for 30 seconds until fragrant but not burnt.

Add the rice and chicken bouillon to the pan with the aromatics and mix. Lightly toast the rice and stir for about 2 minutes until each grain is well coated with seasoning. Add the water, turn up the heat, and cover the pan to bring to a .

Reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Let the rice gently  while covered for about 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the rice is fully steamed.

  • Meanwhile, feel free to cook the chicken or prep any toppings (next steps).

When the 20 minutes are up, uncover and taste the rice! Add salt if needed.

Step 2: Season & sear the chicken

Thin out your chicken breasts by butterflying them or pounding them out into thinner, uniform pieces no more than 3/4” (2 cm) thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt.

Combine equal parts of the spices in a small bowl to create a spice mix. You’ll need enough to fully coat the chicken bread. Then, liberally sprinkle the spice mix over both sides. Don’t hold back here — you want full coverage.

Preheat a pan over high heat. Add a drizzle of oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the coated chicken to the pan. The goal is to blacken this spice mix onto the chicken into a crust. until you are right on the edge of the crust being burnt, but it’s actually not. It should be very dark.

Flip over the chicken to finish the cooking and set the crust on the other side. If your breast was thinned out you should be able to cook it through in the pan without burning the seasoning.

  • Use a thermometer to ensure the chicken has hit at least 155°F/68°C before pulling it off the heat.

Let the chicken rest for a few minutes before dicing into cubes for the bowl.

Step 3: Assemble the bowl

To a bowl, add a layer of the cooked rice first, then a drizzle of yogurt, hot sauce, a layer of diced chicken, and then a spoonful each of pomegranate seeds, almonds, feta, parsley, and onions (or however you prefer your toppings).

There should be enough chicken & rice for at least 2 large servings.



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