Meltingly tender chicken with the lemony flavor of summac and the sweetness of caramelized onions, Musakhan is a favorite dish of Palestinians everywhere! This meal is a symbol of self-sufficiency in rural Palestine, and is traditionally eaten with the fingers. Some farmers call it the olive season’s meal because so much olive oil is used in this dish. Its ingredients are available in any Arabic Store at minimum cost, making a delicious and healthy meal.
- 1 whole chicken
- 6 large onions, diced
- 2 loaves “Taboun bread”*
- 250 ml of Rumi or Nabali olive oil
- 1 pack Canaan almonds
- Spices: salt, pepper, summac (available in Arabic stores), allspice. Optional: cardamom, bay leaves, and nutmeg.
* Taboun bread is the traditional Palestinian bread baked over hot stones. It can be bought at some bakeries and major supermarkets. An adequate replacement is the “Shrak” bread, which is another traditional bread that is extremely thin and baked over a round hot plate.
To prepare chicken:
- Clean the chicken with lemon juice and cut it into 4 – 6 pieces.
- Dice one onion and sauté it in one tablespoon olive oil on medium heat until golden.
- Add chicken pieces to fried onions and turn it over in the pot adding salt, pepper, and allspice to taste. (You could add cardamom, bay leaves and nutmeg for fuller flavor.)
- Add 2 cups of water and cook on medium-high heat until water boils, then turn heat down and cook on low heat until tender.
- When chicken is well done, remove the pieces from the water and place in a grilling pan, adding one diced onion with salt, pepper, and a good handful of Summac. Grill in the oven.
To prepare bread:
- Cut four onions into small, medium sized pieces
- Deep-fry the onions with 1 cup of olive oil over medium heat stirring occasionally until the onions are tender, but not browned. Add one good handful of Summac and stir to mix. Cook until onions are cooked through (very soft, but not browned)
- On the side, sauté almonds in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until golden, then set aside
- Dip full round bread (you can also cut your bread in any size) in the onion oil, and place it on a plate. Then, pour some of the onion mixture on top of the bread. Traditionally, the breads topped with onion are stacked on top of each other in a large serving platter, topped with the chicken pieces, but you can place each serving on guest’s plate topped with a chicken piece separately.
- Add sautéed almonds on the Musakhan, and serve with either yogurt or salad!