Almost Turkish Recipes

Baked Chicken and Rice (Tavuklu Kapama)

For every eid/bayram one of my aunties used to make "the traditional" version of this dish, common among Balkan immigrants in Thrace, north western Turkey: lamb pieces cooked in white rice. In time lamb was replaced with chicken due to an increase in the number of picky children in the family, lamb does have a smell. I tried hard to avoid eating the dish with chicken, simply because it was blend and oh so uninteresting; white rice and slightly dry chicken. 

I started experimenting with it once the main cook of my favorite "esnaf lokantasi" (trademan's restaurant) in Ankara shared his tips to keep the chicken moist and the dish interesting. I think I nailed it (even my picky 7 year old compliments me when I make this) and this version is absolutely delicious, but you can create your own switching rice with other grains or chicken with lamb. I like it also with bulgur or buckwheat, but this version is the kid favorite in our house.  

6-8 chicken drumsticks (or any part you want) 
1 bay leaf
3 cloves of garlic 
1 tbsp peppercorns 
some parsley
2 tbsp olive oil + 2 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped ~1/2 cup  
2 cups white rice 
1 cup grated tomatoes 
2 tomatoes, sliced in 4
~8 shishito peppers (or any kind you want)
1 tsp dried mint (optional)
salt & pepper
1 tbsp or more yogurt
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp paprika 

-Put chicken drumstick/pieces in a big pot cover with water 2 inches over. Add bay leaf, garlic cloves, peppercorn, parsley, and 1 tsp salt. Cook for 30-35 mins until chicken is cooked. Do not discard the water. Drain and save. 

-In a wide bottom cast iron or steel pot (that can go in the oven) heat olive oil and butter. (the one in the picture is 11.75" diameter, 2.13" deep)

-Add onions and cook until soft on medium, ~7-9 minutes.

-Add grated tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes.

-Add rice, stir for a couple of minutes, until it soaks the tomatoes. 

-Add 4 cups of chicken stock that you saved. Add dried mint, salt and black pepper, and wait until it starts to boil.

-Once it starts bubbling, turn in off. Place drumsticks in any pattern you want.

-Place peppers and sliced tomatoes in between chicken pieces. 

-Mix yogurt, tomato paste and paprika. Spread this mixture on drumsticks with a brush. This will help them have a nice color and keep them deliciously moist. 

-Bake in a preheated oven at 380F for ~30 minutes, until rice absorbs all the water. 

-Take out and let rest 5-10 minutes before serving. 



  1. This looks so good I can almost taste it. Thank you for the tips!

  2. Robert4:17 AM

    I made this last night.It was so good! Very flavorful and easy to make.