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Chicken Imbakbaka

Updated: Feb 21, 2022

This Libyan chicken dish is perfect for those times when there is a crisis or tug of war between giving into what children want and what you want as an adult for your palate. Pasta and chicken with Indian flavors. Could not get more perfect than this!

In my case, this question often arises as I think of entertaining Indian American families. Families where the parents are first generation Indians like me but their children are, well, more American than Indian in terms of food.

When I'm cooking in those instances, there are several considerations. First, I

never like to serve food that I know is not going to be appreciated. Even if it is for "children". Second, I don't like to waste the effort that it takes to cook good Indian food only to have it be forced on children who may have the identity of wanting "not Indian food" but at the same time, food with "Indian flavors." This dish is perfect because it allows the children to feel that they are not eating "Indian Food". It's pasta. So it's cool. On the flip side, I don't end up spending time cooking Indian dishes that take a LONG time, for a crowd that would rather eat something else.

This dish is truly a super easy dish to cook for a BIG crowd if you happen to have a big wok or saute pan. This is definitely not a sponsored website but I added the link because I really think a saute pan of that size changes the dynamics of the kitchen. AND, just so you know, if you go to a place like HOMEGOODS, that same size saute pan, can be $29.00. So if you do like to cook and have a penchant of wanting effective kitchen tools, a saute pan I definitely recommend. I don't want you to take this statement lightly given that I'm an Indian and an Indian wok is an amazing tool. The saute pan is super cool too 😌. It allows for an even evaporation of water which is really helpful when cooking things like pasta in flavored broth.

If you want to add more veggies, then feel free to substitute the chopped onion with the Mirapoux mix of onions, celery and carrot. You won't go wrong.

I do like serving this with the kachumber salad but I imagine any salad will be a fabulous fit :)


  • 1.25-1.5 lbs of chicken (5-6 chicken thighs; 7-8 chicken tenders; 4 bone in thighs)

  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder

  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds or cumin seeds

  • 1 pinch nutmeg*

  • 1 pinch cinnamon*

  • 1 pinch cardamom powder*

  • 1 pinch clove powder*

  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 cup onion, coarsely chopped (Mirapoux Mix totally fine)

  • 2 cloves freshly chopped garlic or (3-4 tsp spoon store bought garlic paste)

  • 3-4 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 lb dry pasta (shells, rotini, penne)

  • 8 cups water

  • paper towel or kitchen towel for patting chicken dry

* use 1/2 teaspoon garam masala as a close substitute for all these spices


  1. Start with the chicken at room temperature. Wash and pat dry.

  2. Put all the dry spices in a bowl and create a dry rub. Rub all over chicken.

  3. Add oil to a frying pan and heat to high. Add chicken pieces and sear for about 2 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side.

  4. Remove chicken pieces from the pan onto a plate. Add the chopped onion (or mirapoux) and garlic to deglaze the pan. Cook till onions brown slightly.

  5. Add the tomato paste, stir give it a stir and cook for 30 seconds.

  6. Add in the chicken pieces.

  7. Add the water to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, bring to a simmer, and cook for 45 minutes.

  8. Add pasta, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and bring back down to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes till the pasta is cooked through.

  9. Turn off the burner and remove from heat. Let sot for about 10 minutes or so before serving!

Please email me at if anything is unclear or if you have any questions. If you try this recipe and it works for you or made modifications, please leave a comment to let the community know.


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