Pullum Parthicum

The most straightforward, tastiest, and juiciest chicken I have ever made!

This recipe has a few hundred years on its neck; the recipe initially comes from the first cookbook published in Rome – 10 A.D. the author was Marcus Gavius ​​Apicius’ and the book: De re coquinaria (of culinary significance). Pullum Parthicum means chicken from Parthia, which is the current northeastern part of Iran. Lovage and Asofetida were spices that came to Rome from Parthia – hence the name.

In 2017, I came across this book on Google books – there I found this recipe, but it took until ten days ago when I felt for making the dish, I do not regret it. The funny thing was that just before that, my nephew Mathew told me that he had made this particular chicken and was very happy.

Some ingredients are somewhat unusual for Swedish and American households, and one needs to order them online.  The first one is Asofetida (also called Hing), which was widely used by the ancient Persians – nowadays, it is commonly used in India instead. The Iranians today do not have a clue about this, I would say. The spice is popular in India because the deeply religious Hindus do not eat onions or garlic – they flavor the food with Asofetida (Hinge) instead. A warning: do not smell the spice – hold your breath and mix it with water as in this recipe or oil – it does not smell good, but when combined, it is indeed a culinary experience.

The second is Liquamen or Garum fermented fish sauce. I ordered it online, and it was quite expensive – you can use regular “Fish Sauce,” which is available in most grocery stores today.

The third ingredient is Lovage, which is a slightly unusual herb to use in cooking, although it grows here both in Sweden and the USA as well. You can also order Lovage online. Leaves from celery can also replace this.

One technique that the recipe calls for is to remove the chicken’s backbone – (spatchcock) that way, you can flatten the chicken in the oven dish, and the chicken takes a little less time to cook.

If you use a clay pot as I did, you need to soak it in water an hour before. You need to lift off the lid and let the chicken get a little more color in the last 15 – 20 minutes.

1 Whole Chicken
1,5 tsp Whole black peppercorns plus a little extra for garnish
1 Tbsp Lovage
1,5 tsp Black cumin seeds (Caraway)
3 Tbsp Liquamen or “Fish sauce.”
1 Cup Red or white wine
0,5 Cup Boiling water
0,75 tsp Asafetida


  1. Set the oven to 482° degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. If you use a clay pot, you need to soak it about an hour before – it works just as well to use another suitable oven form.
  3. Take out the mortar and put the peppercorns and cumin seeds in it – Crush it roughly.
  4. Mix pepper, cumin, and Lovage in a bowl – add fish sauce and wine, mix well.
  5. Boil 0.6 dl of water and mix it in a separate cup with Asafetida (Hing) and stir until dissolved. Mix it with the other “marinade” ingredients.
  6. Spatchcock the chicken so that you can get a flat chicken. Place the chicken in a suitable oven dish and pour over the liquid.
  7. Put the chicken in the oven for 40 – 45 minutes or until the thermometer shows 165,2° degrees Fahrenheit when measuring the (thickest part of breast fillet).

Serve with butter-fried Brussels sprouts and carrots. Do not throw away the liquid! You can make an incredibly delicious sauce (gravy) with it. Melt butter in a saucepan – add a tablespoon or two flour – then dilute with the chicken’s liquid and a little cream—season to taste.


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