Circassian Chicken

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Circassian Chicken, in Turkish Çerkez Tavuğu, is a dish of shredded boiled chicken, crushed walnuts, and stale bread. This magnificent dish has adopted by Ottoman cuisine during the early 17th century from the Circassia region. In the beginning, it was served as a main dish at the Ottoman palaces; but in today’s Turkish cuisine, it is served as a side dish and/or a meze.

Today, Circassian Chicken is one of the most wanted dishes of family gatherings and/or special events such as wedding ceremonies in Turkey. It is simply because people of all ages love to eat this dish. If it is done right, no one can say no to this special Circassian dish.

You can serve this delicious dish either as a side dish or a meze with your main course. It also goes very well with baguette bread as an appetizer. If you like to prepare an appetizer plate for your guests or even for yourself, Circassian Chicken will be the best pick among all. My personal preference is Lavash bread.

circassian chicken with bread

The Origin

The Ottoman Empire was famous for many things besides its ruling and war skills such as art, architecture, and cuisine. The Ottoman Empire was also famous for its harems too. Basically, the harem is the part of a palace or house reserved for the residence of women.

The Ottoman Sultans have a specific liking for Circassian women and many of the captured Circassian women either became Sultan’s wife and/or work as a servant in the palace. So, it is the Circassian women who brought this delicious taste to Ottoman cuisine.

Circassian Chicken

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Turkish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 6
Calories 105 kcal


  • 1 Whole Chicken
  • 1 Onion – Medium Size Peeled
  • 350 g Walnuts Crushed
  • 4 Slices of Stale Bread (Day-old Bread) Crusts Removed
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Coriander Seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

For Garnishing

  • 4 tbps Walnut Oil
  • 1 tbsp Red Pepper Flakes


  1. Put the whole chicken, onion, salt, and ground black pepper in a pan. Add water until it covers the whole chicken and boil it at medium heat. Remove the foam that forms on top during boiling to have a clear broth. Simmer until the chicken is tender. Usually, it takes about 45-50 minutes.

  2. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside to cool. After it is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and excess fat. Then, remove the chicken meat from the bones and tear it into strips, and set aside.

  3. For the walnut dressing, soak the bread slices into the broth and then squeeze dry and crumble the bread into a food processor. Add crushed walnuts, garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, and ground coriander seed into the food processor. And then, combine these in a food processor to form a paste.

  4. In a bowl, combine the walnut dressing with chicken strips. And then put the mix into a serving plate.

  5. Put walnut oil and red pepper flakes in a frying pan and cook for about 1 minute.

  6. Drizzle walnut oil mix evenly throughout the chicken meat mix.

  7. Serve

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