turmeric, saffron & lime grilled chicken

turmeric, saffron & lime grilled chicken

Every other Sunday we have a Berlin Balcony BBQ at our parents place. Our mother will have been marinating several different vegetables and meats for days and the flavours just sing and jump at you like a big tasty charcoal explosion. These recipes are a homage to this family tradition, which has been a celebration in our household since we can remember. 

This is kind of our version of Joojeh Kebab, an extremely popular Persian dish. Traditionally the marinade is made with onions, saffron and yoghurt. We omitted the onions and added turmeric into the mix to further push those earthy flavour notes that the saffron brings to the table. The marinade we make is somewhere between a dry rub and a wet marinade and although it may not look like much, it will absolutely cover your chicken. Serve with cucumber yoghurt, flatbread and some fresh greens!


1 large, whole chicken around 1.5 kg
1 generous pinch saffron
4 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp cardamon powder
Juice of two limes, zest of half
salt and pepper to taste


1. First, butterfly your chicken: position the chicke so the breast is facing up. Using the palms of your hands press down firmly on the chicken's breastbone until you hear a crack and the chicken lies flat... voila. 

2. Make saffron essence: use a mortar and pestle to grind the saffron into a super fine powder (adding a pinch of salt to the mortar will help this along), pour over 50 ml of just boiled water and cool.

3. For the marinade: In a small bowl, combine the turmeric, cardamon, saffron essencelime juice and zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pat the chicken dry with some kitchen paper, then place the marinade and chicken into a freezer bag and ensure that the chicken is completely and evenly coated in the mixture. 

4. Allow to marinade in the fridge for at least 24 hours (48 hours would be even better). Let the chicken come to room temperature before cooking! For best results, cook in the oven at 180°C fan for 30 minutes before finishing off on the grill for that lovely charcoal flavour.