once upon a chef

Grilled Moroccan Chicken


                  – 1½ to 1¾ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (or chicken tenderloins) – ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil – 1 teaspoon salt – 1 teaspoon sugar – 3 garlic cloves, minced – 2 teaspoons paprika – 1 teaspoon ground cumin – ½ teaspoon ground coriander – ¼ teaspoon ground ginger – ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric – ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon – ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

I love Moroccan food, especially how dishes often combine spicy, savory, and sweet flavors, and that’s the idea behind this grilled Moroccan chicken. The spices in the marinade are reminiscent of ras el hanout, a North African spice blend that usually contains more than a dozen spices, like cumin, coriander, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cardamom, allspice, fenugreek, and more. This dish is a real family pleaser – even small children seem to love it – and the best part is that it takes just minutes to prepare (and there’s barely any clean-up!).


Begin by pounding the chicken breasts to an even 1/2-inch thickness.


This both tenderizes the meat and ensures even cooking. Left in their natural shape, the thin side of the fillet dries out while the thicker side finishes cooking.


Next, make the marinade by combining the olive oil, spices, salt, garlic and sugar in a bowl or directly in a sealable plastic bag.


Mix well and place the chicken and marinade in a freezer bag, press the air out and then massage the marinade into the chicken until the breasts are evenly coated. Marinate in the fridge for 5-6 hours.


When you’re ready to eat, preheat your grill to high. It’s important that the grill is very hot — you want nice grill marks and char in the short amount of time it takes to cook these.


Grill just a few minutes per side for perfectly tender chicken breasts.