Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Leftover Saver: Curried Lemon Chicken Pieces

There are two kinds of people: those who love and those who hate leftovers.

My mother insisted on cooking huge batches of food, so we ate leftovers regularly.  But we didn't have a microwave.  Everything had to be reheated on the stove-top.  Ever tried to reheat roasted chicken pieces on a stove top?  It can be a bit challenging.  The chicken can come out very dry and tasteless. And since we did not grow up in the land of boneless skinless chicken breasts, all of our chicken was cooked on the bone, usually roasted.  Then the next day, my mother would pick the bones clean, save the bones for stock, and fry up the meat a second time, seasoning it generously with her stash of Middle Eastern curry powder and finish it with a splash of lemon juice.

So I grew up to love leftover chicken.  I think I may even love this more than the original meal of roast chicken.  I just can't stop picking at the bowl of juicy, caramelized chicken pieces, flavored with the sweet and mildly spicy curry powder.  The final squeeze of lemon juice brightens up the whole dish, balancing out the flavors of the curry.

If you have leftover chicken, this whole dish will take you five minutes, start to finish.  If you don't have any leftover chicken, I do like to use boneless chicken thighs here for a very quick dish.  For a fabulous sandwich, serve this tucked into a loaf of pita bread.  Otherwise, serve it next to rice, a plate of green beans - really, whatever you have in your kitchen.  It is as forgiving as it is delicious.

Curried Lemon Chicken Pieces

Oil to coat the pan (I like coconut oil or olive oil)
3 cups cooked cubed chicken
1.5 tsp Middle Eastern curry (recipe below)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste

1.  Heat oil over medium high heat, then add chicken and season with curry powder.  Stir and fry in oil until sizzling and caramelized and a little crispy, for 3-5 minutes.

2.  Turn off heat.  Stir in lemon juice and parsley.

Serve hot or room temperature, wrapped in bread or over rice.

Middle Eastern Curry Powder

1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
Dash of cayenne pepper


  1. Oh, yum! I love the homemade curry powder. I'll come back and try this next time I have leftover chicken.

    1. Thanks, Terita! You know, I think you and Darwin will like this curry blend. I use it all the time in my kitchen. I love it in any sautéed vegetables - eggplant, zucchini, green beans, carrots. We also season rice, fish, and meat with it. It is so flavorful and versatile. You can buy this as a blend in the little markets all around the West Bank, and I had my mother mail it to me for years until I figured out how to duplicate it in my own kitchen!

  2. This looks and sounds so yummy. Thanks for sharing with us at The HomeAcre Hop!

    Please join us again Thursday at:


  3. Hello there!

    Im Helena, From veganismoparadummies (spanish vegan blog), and I was wondering If I could post your recipes in my blog once I "veganize" them? It hurts me to see what your country is going through right know and I would like to send my love posting some palestinian recipes.

    Would that be fine with you? (of course I´ll post your blog name too).

    1. Sure, Helena, that would be lovely. Let me know when you put something up!

      Thanks for checking in with me and I am thrilled to share Palestinian recipes with all of the world.

    2. Great! It would take me a long time to get back to the kitchen experiments because I have a sleeping issue, but I`ll tell you when I post something :)

  4. I am going to try this with leftover Thanksgiving turkey!

    1. What a great idea! Hope it was good! Our leftover turkey went into broth for soup.

    2. What a great idea! Hope it was good! Our leftover turkey went into broth for soup.


Trying this recipe? A question or a comment? I'd love to hear from you!