Moroccan steamed stuffed chicken 5 ways

Have you ever steamed chicken? If not, you're in for a wonderful discovery.

I like steamed chicken, not only because it's healthy to steam food but because the bird is incredibly moist. I can eat it hot or cold, so , so it's quite convenient as well.

Steamed and semi-roasted chicken with vermicelli stuffing, served with
steamed vegetables with chermoula on the side.

Consider the recipe I'll be posting today as a main idea you can work around. I'll give you 3 options to stuff a chicken and marinate it the Moroccan way. But before you even get there, you want to clean it and brine it the Moroccan way first.

I tend to use baby chicken because we're a small family here but back home the usual size is medium to large, which means that the bird takes more stuffing and more marinade. 

Steamed and roasted chicken, stuffed with rice vermicelli and harissa
and served with the same combination

Even if you can't fit all the stuffing in the chicken's cavity, you can still steam it on the sides of the bird and serve it along with it.

Steamed and roasted chicken with herbs (see options below)

Before you marinate the chicken, you want to decide which colour you are going for. You could marinate the chicken with a red effect by adding more paprika to the chermoula or with a yellow effect by adding turmeric which also will call for ginger. Both are a matter of choice.

After the chicken is cooked through and steamed properly, or you could either semi-roast it or serve it as it is. We like to semi-roast it for a nice golden colour just before serving.

You could marinate the chicken 1 day ahead and even steam it 1 day ahead. It can be roasted the same day you will be serving it, which is quite convenient if you have a busy schedule, not to mention using leftovers for a quick meal when you don't feel like cooking.

Steamed and semi-roasted chicken, stuffed with rice
vermicelli and chermoula 

Serve 4
Prep: 20 min - Marination: 2 hrs- Cooking: 1h20 

  • 1 baby chicken (0.8 -1 kg),
  • 1 cup of chermoula (approx)
  • 1 cup of stuffing
  • 1/4 cup of green olives and pickles, finely chopped
  • 1/2 preserved lemon, finely chopped
  • 1 potato, sliced
  • 1 carrot, cut in length then in chunks
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil to roast the chicken
  • 2 cups of coriander, chopped
  • 1 cup of parsley, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 -2 tbsp of paprika (add the second spoon for a "red" finishing)
  • 1 tsp of turmeric (only add it if you are after a yellow finishing)
  • 1 tsp of ground ginger (only add it if you are after a yellow finishing)
  • 1 tbsp of cumin
  • 1/2 tsp of cayenne or to taste
  • 1 tsp of sea salt or to taste
  • 2 tbsps of lemon juice

Vegetable stuffing
  • 1 cup of mixed vegetables: carrots, potatoes, turnip, peeled and diced small. 
  • 1/2 cup of petit pois (optional)
  • 1/2 of ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste
You could double the portion to serve around the chicken.

Rice vermicelli and chermoula stuffing 1
  • 1 cup of rice vermicelli, softened in hot water for 3 min. and kept "al dente" before draining. Cut the long vermicelli with scissors into 3 or 4.
  • 1/2 of the chermoula paste
  • 2 tbsps of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of harissa
  • 1/4 cup of green olives, chopped
  • 1/2 preserved lemon, chopped
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil or butter
Rice vermicelli and harissa stuffing 2
  • 1 cup of rice vermicelli, softened in hot water for 3 min. and kept "al dente" before draining.
  • 2 tbsps of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of harissa
  • 2 tbsps of olive oil or butter
Rice stuffing
  • 1 cup of steamed or boiled rice in salted water and kept "al dente"
  • 1/2 of the chermoula paste
  • 1/2 cup of button mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste

Herbs stuffing
  • 2 cups of parsley
  • 1 cup of coriander
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 preserved lemon, chopped and seeds discarded
  • 1/2 cup of green olives, chopped
  • Salt, pepper and cumin to taste


Prepare the bird

First of all, clean the chicken thoroughly and dip it in a brine for at least 3 hours (water, vinegar, salt and lemon).

Try to get rid of any fat between the skin and the meat (yep, those white spots, you will never find them in a chicken cooked Moroccan style). Be careful not to tear up the skin..

Wash the bird from the brine and pat-dry it, massage it with half of the chermoula paste mix mixed with 1 tablespoon of olive oil inside out and under the skin

Leave to marinate for a couple of hours or overnight.

Make the chermoula

For best results, use a pestle and mortar to make a smooth chermoula paste but a small food processor will do the job as well. Mix all the ingredients.

Vegetable stuffing

Steam the diced vegetables and the petit-pois over boiling water for 7 minutes. They should remain slightly firm from the inside. Mix with half of the chermoula.

Stuff the chicken's cavity from the bottom then from the neck.

For all other stuffings

Mix all ingredients and stuff the bird.

Steamed and roasted chicken stuffed with herbs

Steam the chicken

Place the chicken over the potato slices and carrots on the top side of the couscoussier or any steamer. Fill the bottom part of the double boiler to 1/3 with hot water and place over the top with the chicken. Cover and let steam for 50 min. You could fill in the side of the steamer with any leftover vermicelli or diced vegetables.

Once the chicken is tender and cooked through. Set aside until you are ready to serve.

Roasting and serving

Massage the chicken with olive oil and place it in a hot oven under the grill. Rotate every 10 minutes or until a side is looking golden to golden-brown.

Serve with steamed vegetables or pickles or just roasted potatoes.

You can serve it hot or cold depending on the season. 

Use leftovers for sandwiches or salads.


  • While it's not necessary to saw the skin, I find that this step keeps the chicken moist and the stuffing inside.

  • It's always better not to fully stuff the cavity in order to leave some space for the steam to operate. I tend to only fill 3/4 of it at maximum.

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