What is Alfaham? What is the recipe for Alfahm?

Alfaham is a popular Middle Eastern grilled chicken dish known for its smoky flavour and aromatic spices. It is often associated with Arabian cuisine and is particularly popular in countries like Saudi Arabia, Oman, and the UAE. Alfahm is typically cooked over a charcoal grill, which gives the chicken a unique, charred taste.

Alfaham Recipe


For the Marinade:

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces (or 4 chicken quarters)
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
  • Salt to taste

For the Basting:

  • 2 tbsp melted butter or olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon


  1. Prepare the Marinade:
    • In a large bowl, combine the yoghurt, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic paste, ginger paste, and all the spices (paprika, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, red chilli powder, and salt).
    • Mix well to form a smooth marinade.
  2. Marinate the Chicken:
    • Make deep slashes in the chicken pieces to allow the marinade to penetrate.
    • Rub the marinade all over the chicken pieces, ensuring they are well-coated.
    • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, for the best flavour.
  3. Prepare the Grill:
    • Preheat a charcoal grill to medium-high heat.
    • If using an oven, preheat to 200°C (400°F).
  4. Grill the Chicken:
    • Place the marinated chicken pieces on the grill.
    • Cook for about 20-30 minutes, turning occasionally and basting with melted butter or olive oil mixed with lemon juice.
    • Ensure the chicken is cooked at an internal temperature of at least 75°C (165°F) and has a nice char outside.
    • If using an oven, place the chicken on a baking tray and bake for 30-40 minutes, basting occasionally and turning once halfway through. Finish under the broiler for the last 5 minutes for a charred effect.
  5. Serve:
    • Once the chicken is cooked and charred to your liking, remove it from the grill.
    • Serve hot, garnished with lemon wedges and fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro.

Serving Suggestions

Alfahm is often served with:

  • Hummus: A creamy dip made from blended chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic.
  • Garlic Sauce (Toum): A traditional Middle Eastern garlic sauce made with garlic, oil, lemon juice, and salt.
  • Salad: A fresh side salad like tabbouleh (a parsley and bulgur salad) or fattoush (a salad with mixed greens, vegetables, and toasted pita bread).
  • Arabic bread, such as pita or flatbread, is perfect for scooping the chicken and sides.

This recipe brings out the authentic flavours of Middle Eastern cuisine and makes for a delicious, smoky, and aromatic grilled chicken dish. Enjoy your homemade Alfaham with these traditional accompaniments!

Spread the Word: Share This Post!