Musakhan – means heated up in Arabic. It is a dish of Sumac seasoned chicken on a bed of onions sitting on a flatbread called Taboon bread. Click to read more about taboon bread and oven.
Although this dish is found all around the Levantine area, it is Palestinian in origin. In fact, many an argument has broken out over whether it is the Musakhan or the Maqlouba that is the national dish of Palestine!
Traditionally, Musakan is made during the olive pressing season and the recipe calls for the onions to be cooked in a huge amount of olive oil (don’t worry I’ve cut it down!). The principle is very similar to the Turkish Zeytinyağlı dishes or “olive oil foods”, where vegetables are slow simmered in a whole lot of olive oil resulting in deliciously soft and full flavoured dishes.
This is how we make musakhan:
- Cook the chicken in one pot
- Cook the onions in a different pot while the chicken is cooking
- Take the chicken out and brown it (on the stove or under a grill/broiler)
- Mix the onions into the sauce left behind by the chicken
- Assemble the musakhan – bread, onion sauce, chicken, then garnish
For most of us, Taboon bread (click for recipe) is not easily available, so I suggest using any form of flat Middle Eastern bread you have access to, pita would work too, with the added advantage that you can stuff it with the chicken, if you are so inclined. Even tortillas, chapatis and parathas would work well for this. And naan, that would be awesome too!
Manoushe, the Lebanese Za’atar bread above, is probably one of my favourite base for Musakhan.
Musakhan is also just as often made as wraps, which in my opinion, makes it easier to eat! This is definitely food to be eaten with your hands, but don’t use boneless chicken, the taste will suffer for it. Musakhan wraps make great picnic food and are perfect on the summer table.
This is how you make musakhan wraps:
- Shred the chicken
- Spread the onion sauce all over the flatbread
- Top with shredded chicken
- Garnish with pine nuts, parsley and sumac
- Roll up and eat up!
Head on over to the Middle Eastern and North African page, for more recipes like:
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Musakhan is a dish of Sumac seasoned chicken on a bed of onions sitting on flatbread.