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Balli mahmudiye recipe

Balli mahmudiye recipe

6 ratings

Chef and food writer John Gregory-Smith shares this delicious, lavish chicken dish from his latest cookbook, Turkish Delights. Combining succulent chicken with dried fruit and nuts, this hearty main was traditionally enjoyed at 15th and 16th century dinner parties. This modern take adds orzo, which complements the apricot and cinnamon beautifullly. What's more, this easy Turkish recipe can be ready in just 30 minutes! See method

  • Serves 4
  • 15 mins to prepare and 15 mins to cook
  • 731 calories / serving


  • 300g (10oz) orzo
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • handful finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • handful finely chopped dill
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 600g (19 1/2oz) skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 55g blanched almonds
  • 100g (3 1/2oz) dried apricots, sliced
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 tsp clear honey
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cornflour

Each serving contains

  • Energy

  • Fat

    27g 39%
  • Saturates

    6g 30%
  • Sugars

    15g 17%
  • Salt

    0.5g 9%

of the reference intake
Carbohydrate 70.9g Protein 51.5g Fibre 1.5g


  1. Cook the orzo in a pan of boiling water following packet instructions. Drain and return to the pan. Add the butter and a pinch of salt. Stir in the herbs and smoked paprika.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan over a high heat and add the chicken. Fry for 2-3 minutes to seal. Add the onion and almonds and fry for 3-4 minutes, until golden.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the apricots, lemon juice, honey, and cinnamon; season well. Add 2-3 tbsp boiling water and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes. Add the cornflour and mix until thickened. Serve with the orzo.

See more Turkish recipes

This is a recipe extract from Turkish Delights, photographed by Martin Poole.

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