Palestinian Musakhan - cc via wikipedia Palestinian Musakhan - cc via wikipedia

Try Palestinian Musakhan this Ramadan

Wed, May. 16, 2018
CAIRO – 16 May 2018: As we are approaching the holy month of Ramadan, the planning process for this month often becomes difficult and overwhelming – especially for mothers who have to take care of the family, the home, their own work and of course preparing Ramadan meals. In the beginning of the month, you have plenty of ideas, but you soon find that you have run out of exciting new dishes to cook.

To add new flavor to your Ramadan experience, try mixing up your menus with a wide range of special and exceptional Ramadan recipes from around the world. This will add variety and color to your loved ones’ meals during the month while providing their daily dose of nutrition.

For a delicious Iftar, try one of the most popular and traditional Palestinian cuisine dishes, “Musakhan”, in Ramadan. The dish is composed of perfectly roasted chicken with caramelized onions, fresh bread, sumac, spices and fried pine nuts. It is usually prepared during the olive oil harvest and pressing season to celebrate freshly pressed olive oil.

To prepare four servings, you will need the following ingredients:

- 1 chicken, cut into 4 serving pieces
- ¼ cup dried sumac
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Salt, pepper and allspice to season
- ½ lemon
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 cups fresh olive oil
- 1 kg onions, peeled and chopped. Make sure that you do not chop the onions too fine, as they can lose texture with cooking.
- Two large loaves of Taboon bread. Palestinians use bread called shrak or marquq for this dish.
- Nuts for topping and decoration (pine nuts and almonds are the most commonly used ones)

Sumac is a spice that comes from dried and ground berries of the Rhus shrubs; it comes with a purplish deep red powder that is sour. Sumac is used to give a sour, lemony taste to chicken, salads and salad dressings in the Middle East.

Taboon bread is usually baked in a very hot oven lined with round smooth stones to give the bread a dimpled appearance. It can be replaced with flat bread as long as it is not too thin, because it needs to withstand holding the onions and chicken.


- In a bowl, mix the chicken, sumac, spices, lemon, garlic, salt and pepper. Marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or preferably for several hours.

- Heat the olive oil in a large pan or pot over medium-high flame. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook until the skin is golden brown (20-30 minutes). Once the chicken is done, remove the pieces to a plate.

- Lower the heat and add the onions to the pan; make sure that there is enough olive oil to submerge the onions completely and stir until the onions are cooked down and begin to caramelize. Once the onions are done, place them in a colander to drain off any excessive oil.

- Sprinkle the onions with sumac, cinnamon, black pepper and allspice, and toss them until they are completely coated with the mix.

- Line the bottom of a baking dish with Taboon bread and brush it with some olive oil, then spread half the onions over it. Place chicken over the onions and top the chicken with the remaining onions.

- Place the baking dish in a preheated oven set to 180°C and bake for 10 minutes.

- Remove the dish from the oven and let it rest about 10 minutes.

- Top it with nuts and sprinkle with the sumac. You can serve the Musakhan with plain yogurt.

Musakhan - cc via flickr
Musakhan - cc via flickr

For children, you can roll the Musakhan into wraps. Follow the same steps mentioned before and then roll the bread after adding all the cooked ingredients inside. Brush with some olive old and heat the rolls in the oven or in a sandwich press.

Musakhan Rolls - cc via flickr
Musakhan Rolls - cc via flickr

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