Maftoul with Chicken

Maftoul, referred to as Palestinian couscous, is a staple food in Palestine. Most often cooked and served on holidays and occasions.  When Moroccan people come to Palestine, they brought the recipe with them. Its Moroccan name is Couscous. Even though it treated as a special kind of Couscous, however, its made from distinct ingredients and has a distinct look.

Described as a heartwarming food, it is made from wheat that is boiled, sun-dried then cracked. It is then hand-rolled in freshly ground organic whole wheat flour, after which it is steamed and sundried.

Origin of Maftoul

It comes from an Arabic root word “fa-ta-la” which means to twist or to roll. That is exactly defining the technique to make this Palestinian recipe by hand-rolling wheat with flour. This delicious recipe is available widely on the web at affordable prices comparing to the trouble and time required for making them.

How to make Maftoul?

You can prepare using the already prepared maftoul, or you can develop yours from scratch. To prepare, you need; one and a half cups bulgur, 2 cups white flour, 4 cups wheat flour, and two teaspoons of salt. This food is similar to the couscous except that the grains are larger and rounder. Described as a hearty and satisfying food, the dish stands to be respected by the natives of Palestine and surrounding nations due to its soul-warming nature. It heats the body from inside out.

To cook the food you do not necessarily need to use a special type of equipment. An easier method, similar to cooking rice can be used. To give flavor to your dish, it is necessary to add some good amount of onions and fry using ghee. To improve the flavor, you can add some more different types of spices. As a common practice chickpeas are usually added to the maftoul to make it tastier.

This delicious dish is usually served with flavorful broth which is usually spooned on top. During the process of preparation, you can use water, beef, lamb, or chicken stock. When you use chicken stock, it is imperative that the use the chick broth to spoon on top. If it is beef or lamb, the same applies.

You can serve with the boiled or roasted lamb, beef, or chicken. An alternative vegetarian maftoul can be served with tomato broth containing any vegetables you like.

Maftoul with Chicken
Author: Ghada Abdo
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  • ¾ kg fresh maftoul 2½ cups dry small size maftoul
  • chicken with bones cut into 6 pieces 12 pieces
  • 3 teaspoon ghee or vegetable oil
  • 3 medium onions, sliced
  • 1 cube chicken stock or 2 teaspoon vegeta
  • 10 shallots whole and peeled
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or 2 tablespoons olive oil, (for the dry maftoul only)
  • 1 teaspoon of the following spices: caraway, dill weed, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, black pepper, mixed spices, (for the dry maftoul only) Palestinian coucous
  • 1 teaspoon salt, (for the dry maftoul only)
  • 1-1½ prepared chicken broth, (for the dry maftoul only)
  • Chicken Broth Spices
  • ½ teaspoons dill weed (ein jaradeh or shabat)
  • ½ teaspoons caraway (karao’ya)
  • ½ teaspoons coriander
  • ½ teaspoons cumin
  • ½ teaspoons cardamom
  • ½ teaspoons cinnamon .
  • ¼ teaspoons mixed spices
  • ½ teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • Onion Garlic Spices Paste (farshat al-arous)
  • 2 medium onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed (ein jaradeh or shabat)
  • 1 caraway (karao’ya)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon .
  • ½-¾ teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon mixed spices
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon hot pepper flakes (according to taste)
  • ½ cup olive oil
Cooking the Chicken
  1. Add the ghee or oil into the large pot. On medium to high heat, fry the chicken until golden brown. Set aside.
  2. Add the sliced onion into the same oil, stirring occasionally until golden and soft.
  3. Add the chicken piece back on the fried onion.
  4. Cover the chicken with water, add Chicken stock cube or Vegeta.
  5. Add all the spices; stir until combined.
  6. Cover the lid until the water boil
  7. 7) Reduce the heat for about 35 to 45 minutes until the chicken is tender.
  8. Top the chicken with the prepared maftoul in a colander that fits into the pot. Cover the colander with any available lid.
  9. Add the shallots 15 minutes before the chicken is done.
  10. In the last 5 minutes prior the chicken is done, add the cooked chickpeas.
  11. Remove the chicken pieces into a roasting pan. Add 2-3 tablespoons of chicken water to keep the chicken moist.
  12. Bake the chicken in 450F/230C oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Onion Garlic Spices Paste (farshat al-arous)
  1. Cut the onion into quarters then mince in a food processor.
  2. Crush the garlic in food processor or a garlic press.
  3. Add the onions and garlic into a small bowl and mix together.
  4. Add all spices and mix all thoroughly.
  5. Add the olive oil and mix.
Cooking Fresh Maftoul
  1. Place half of maftoul into a colander that fits the pot size with
  2. Spread evenly the onion garlic paste on the top of the maftoul.
  3. Cover the paste evenly with the second half of maftoul.
  4. When the chicken begins to boil, put the colander with the maftoul in on top of the pot. Making sure that the water level is not touching the colander.
  5. Make with fork few holes into the maftoul.
  6. Occasionally while the chicken is cooking, make holes using the fork, and lightly stir the maftoul.
Cooking Dry, fine Maftoul
  1. Melt the ghee or add the olive oil into a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the maftoul; stirring occasionally until lightly toasted and not browned.
  3. Add hot chicken stock according to the direction on the package. Usually each 1 cup maftoul requires 1 cup chicken stock.
  4. Add spices, reduce heat and cover for about 10 minutes.
  5. Keep covered for 15 minutes.
  6. Divide into two halves and place it into a colander with small holes. In between add the onion garlic paste, exactly the same as the fresh maftoul.
  1. Spread the cooked maftoul into a large round serving dish.
  2. Add prepared chicken both onto the maftoul; Mix. Maftoul will absorb the broth.
  3. Lay the chicken pieces on top of the maftoul.
  4. Pour the chicken broth, shallots and chickpeas into a serving bowl.
  5. To serve, add the moftoul into a serving plate, top with chicken broth with the chickpeas. Top the maftoul one to two shallots, and a piece of chicken on the side.
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