If there’s one culinary treasure that continually amazes me, it’s dried limes. Their subtle complexity and delectable tanginess are always impressive, but what surprises me most is their relative obscurity; few people in the West seem to know they exist. While this is unfortunate, at least you can wow your friends and guests with our Persian-Inspired Dried Lime Chicken.
I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing and learning about Persian cuisine through two lifelong friends, both of whom have Persian/Iranian origins. Although this isn’t an authentic Persian recipe, it was inspired by the tastes my friends (and especially their mothers) introduced me to, particularly those of slow-cooked herbs and dried limes.
Though prominent in Persian cooking, dried limes were actually invented in Oman. To make them, fresh limes are briefly boiled in salty water, then left to dry under the hot desert sun. After several weeks, they become brown and seemingly weightless. You can purchase dried limes from specialty Middle Eastern markets or online vendors, but we recommend making your own.
To make salt-free dried limes, you’ll need a dehydrator or a friend who has one. In the case of the latter, offer to prepare our delicious recipe in exchange for one day with the dehydrator. Instead of drying the limes whole, make slices roughly ¼ inch thick. Arrange them as a single layer and dehydrate according to the machine’s directions.
A less ideal, though still viable option is the oven. Arrange the lime slices on a rack that allows for air circulation. Select the lowest possible temperature (between 150 and 200°F) and “bake” six hours or until the limes lose most of their moisture.
- 2 pounds bone-in chicken pieces
- Slices of 2 dried limes
- ¾ cup fresh herbs (mix of parsley, cilantro, and mint)
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 2 teaspoons coriander (powder)
- 2 teaspoons mild paprika
- 1 lemon, juiced (about 3 tablespoons)
- Freshly milled black pepper
- Olive oil, for drizzling
Christopher James Clark, B.B.A. is a writer, consultant, and chef with specialized knowledge in nutritional science and healing cuisine. He has a Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan and formerly worked as a revenue management analyst for a Fortune 100 company. For the past decade-plus, he has been designing menus, recipes, and food concepts for restaurants and spas, coaching private clients, teaching cooking workshops worldwide, and managing the kitchen for a renowned Greek yoga resort. Clark is the author of the critically acclaimed book, Nutritional Grail.