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Chicken, green bean, and potato stew (Tbih bil'lubya)

Slow cooking and stews are an art form and Middle Eastern culture excels in it. The process of slow cooking allows flavours to come together slowly, integrating and balancing each other out.

This is a fabulous stew. It uses both the African style of slow cooking with warming spices, paprika, turmeric and cumin, and also the Middle Eastern style with loads of fresh herbs. Together they are a dance on your palate, bold but not super spicy. The chicken is soft and fork-tender and the vegetables are soft and mushy in the stew. The result is a lovely hearty meal paired with a soft bread that can absorb the juices. I loved how this turned out.

Ya Amna translates to "My mother", and this is a cookbook that tells the story of the migration of Shoshana from Djerba, Tunisia to Israel. This is a book about a life and the memories and experiences of a family told through food. Ya Amna is a taste of the essence of Shoshana and the Cohen family: a spirit of boundless generosity, simplicity and modesty, together with common sense and faith rooted in love and in human and female strength. The recipes are down-home cooking that takes you to the flavours of North Africa, simple, and delicious.

For more recipes from this book, click here.


2-3 tablespoons oil

1 large onion, finely diced

1 tablespoon paprika, hot or smoked, or a mix

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1-2 green chillies, minced, or to taste (optional)

8 garlic cloves, minced

/12 cup parsley, minced

1/2 cup cilantro, minced

1/4 cup dill, minced

1 cup yellow pumpkin, cut into 1/2 circles

4-5 chicken thighs or drumsticks

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Salt, to taste

6 cups water or stock

2 1/2 cups green beans, stems removed and left whole

2 small potatoes, peeled and quartered

Heat the oil in a deep pot, one that will fit all the ingredients, and add the onions. Sauté on low heat till the onions are soft and taken on a light golden hue. Add the paprika and cook for 10 seconds. Add the tomato paste, green chillies, if using, and garlic and cook the mix for 2 minutes till the tomatoes form a sauce.

Add the parsley, cilantro, dill and pumpkin and toss well in the mix. Allow the pumpkins to cook for 20-3 minutes taking care not to let the tomatos sauce and herbs burn.

Add the chicken and toss well. Cook till the chicken has cooked on the surface and is coated in the spices. be careful not to burn the sauce.

Add the cinnamon, pepper, cumin, turmeric and salt and mix in well. Add the water making sure the chicken is well covered. Bring to a boil and simmer for 40 minutes.

Add the beans and potatoes. Simmer for an additional 18-20 minutes till the potatoes are soft. Taste the sauce for salt and spices.

Serve hot with bread or rice.

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Feb 19

Made this for dinner tonight, really good! A rare evening with all my sons home and lingering at the table…

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