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The Chicken That Flew (Djaja Tarat) Recipe

The Chicken That Flew (Djaja Tarat) Recipe

African cooking is especially appealing for its emphasis on natural ingredients, as well as the simple, delicious flavors that result. Author Medearis has come to regard Africans as the original ethnic vegetarians. Within Africa’s many cultures, fruits, grains, and vegetables have always played a vital role in highly adaptable and ever-evolving cooking styles.

Why this vegetarian Moroccan dish got its name is anybody’s guess, but Medearis imagines that it normally includes chicken, an ingredient that would be excluded during some religious holidays. It has enough protein to be a main-course dish without the chicken in the pot!


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and sliced
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, stems discarded
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon saffron filaments
1/2 cup plain soy milk

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion. Saute for 7 to 10 minutes, or until soft and golden.

2. Add the chickpeas, sweet potatoes, cilantro, salt, pepper, saffron, and soy milk. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Serves 6.

Read more: Food, All recipes, Entrees

Adapted from The Ethnic Vegetarian, by Angela Shelf Medearis (Rodale, 2004).

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.


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6:07AM PST on Nov 28, 2012

Wow - I can't believe it took me 10 years to stumble across this recipe! I will certainly enjoy it just based on the list of ingredients, which even early in the morning have my mouth watering.

I think I might have a whimsical solution to the mystery of the name of the dish; perhaps the folks had planned on chicken for dinner, but it got loose, flew away, and this is what they put together for dinner in the absence of the originally planned main course ;-)
I suspect they did better without the fowl ;-)

12:38AM PST on Mar 8, 2012

The recipe sounds good. Thanks.

6:56PM PST on Jan 14, 2008

This is delicious! Maybe my sweet potatoes were extra big, but I found that two medium would have sufficed. And I wouldn't let not having saffron threads keep me from making the dish; I don't think they were crucial to the flavor. Do try this one.

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