Spatchcocked Chicken, M’qualli-Style

"If you want a flat chicken so it can be grilled, spatchcocking is the answer and, if you ask a friendly butcher, I’m sure they would oblige. M’qualli is a Moroccan culinary style, characterised by the inclusion of (in most cases) ginger, saffron and turmeric."

This recipe is from The DIY BBQ Cookbook by James Whetlor (Quadrille, £20), Photography by Sam Folan


For the marinade

To serve


  1. Preheat the BBQ to a medium heat. Place the chicken on a clean work surface, skinside up and, using your palms, press down firmly on the breastbone to flatten the breast.
  2. In a bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients, then rub this all over the chicken until thoroughly coated. Scatter over the coriander and set aside to come to room temperature.
  3. Meanwhile, in a lidded cast-iron pan, big enough to fit the chicken, heat the oil and cook the onions and garlic for 10 minutes until soft.
  4. Add the spices and preserved lemon pulp and cook for 3–5 minutes until golden and soft. Add 150ml water, bring to the boil, then take off the heat and set aside.
  5. Brown the marinated chicken on the BBQ for 20 minutes, turning it a couple of times to brown it evenly and brushing with a little extra oil.
  6. Transfer the chicken to the pan and spoon over the sauce and onions. Place the pan on the BBQ over the heat, cover and cook for 20–30 minutes,until the chicken is cooked through and the liquid has mostly reduced.
  7. Check the bottom of the pot every now and then to prevent any burning – add a splash of water if necessary.
  8. Take the pan off the heat and set aside to rest for 10 minutes. Lift out the chicken and divide into joints on the bone. Stir half the coriander, preserved lemon rind and olives into the sauce, then return the chicken to the pan. Check for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste, then serve scattered with the remaining olives, preserved lemon and coriander, along with some couscous.
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  • Hi Kate, it’s a 1.5kg chicken – apologies for that typo, we’ve corrected it.

    Holly at Sous Chef on

  • Can you clarify what size chicken this is please?
    Thank you.

    Kate on

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