Balli Mahmudiye, Turkish Lemon Apricot Chicken Orzo
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Turkish Balli Mahmudiye

Historically served at opulent dinner parties, this Turkish recipe for Lemon and Apricot Cinnamon Chicken will be your new go-to.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Turkish
Keyword: apricot, chicken, lemon, orzo
Calories: 3135kcal
Author: John Gregory-Smith


  • 2 ¼ cups orzo
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • A handful of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • A handful of finely chopped dill
  • 1 teaspoon Turkish pepper flakes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ¼ pounds skinless chicken breasts cut into strips
  • 1 onion finely minced
  • 1/3 cup blanched almonds heaping
  • 2/3 cup dried apricots roughly sliced
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Sea salt


  • Cook the orzo in a pan of boiling water according to the package instructions. Drain and return to the pan. Add the butter and a generous pinch of salt. Stir in the herbs and Turkish pepper flakes.
  • Heat the oil in a large pan over high heat and add the chicken.
  • Fry for 2 to 3 minutes to seal the meat. Add the onion and almonds and fry for an additional 3 to 4 minutes until golden.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the apricots, lemon juice, honey, cinnamon, black pepper, and a generous pinch of salt. Add the boiling water and continue to cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cornstarch and mix together until thickened.
  • Serve immediately with the orzo.