Musakhan, also known as muhammar, is a traditional Palestinian dish incredibly popular in the Levantine region of the Middle East. It is a flavorful and aromatic dish made with chicken, onions, and spices; all served on top of a flatbread called taboon bread. The dish has a rich history and is often served during special occasions such as weddings, festivals, and holidays.
- WHAT IS MUSAKHAN?
- WHAT DOES THE WORD MUSAKHAN MEAN?
- WHAT MAKES THIS MUSAKHAN RECIPE SPECIAL?
- WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF MUSAKHAN?
- 🥘 INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED FOR MUSAKHAN
- 🔪 HOW TO MAKE MUSAKHAN
- 💭 COOKING TIPS FOR MUSAKHAN
- 📖 DELICIOUS VARIATIONS FOR MUSAKHAN
- 🍲 MORE CHICKEN RECIPES YOU'LL LOVE
- 🌡️ HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER MUSAKHAN
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
This delicious dish is traditionally served on taboon bread, a round flatbread cooked in a clay oven. The bread is soft and slightly chewy, with a crispy exterior, and it provides the perfect base for the chicken and onion mixture. It is usually served family-style, with the bread on a large platter and the chicken and onions arranged on top, garnished with fresh herbs and more sumac.
Musakhan is a hearty and comforting dish for sharing with friends and family, especially during the holidays. It is a dish that brings people together, and the flavors and aromas will transport you to the bustling streets of the Levant.
WHAT IS MUSAKHAN?
Musakhan is a traditional Palestinian dish that's wholesome and delicious. It's often referred to as the national dish of Palestine!
The main ingredient in Musakhan is chicken, which is cut into halves or quarters, with or without the skin. The chicken is then marinated in a mixture of spices, including sumac, black pepper, cinnamon, paprika, lemon juice, and olive oil.
The sumac adds a tangy and slightly sour flavor to the dish, while the black pepper and cinnamon provide a warm and spicy taste. The chicken is then cooked until tender and juicy, and the onions are caramelized in the same pan, absorbing all the flavors from the chicken and the spices.
Once the chicken and onions are cooked, the mixture is placed on the taboon or Arabic bread. The dish is then garnished with fresh parsley or cilantro and extra sumac, which adds flavor. It’s then served warm and can be eaten as is or with a side salad or vegetables.
WHAT DOES THE WORD MUSAKHAN MEAN?
The word Musakhan translates to "heated up" in Arabic, and it's believed that the name comes from how the chicken and onions are cooked together in a pan before being placed on top of the taboon bread.
This traditional dish is truly a testament to how flavor can be created by heating a few ingredients. Musakhan is sure to warm your heart as well as your taste buds!
WHAT MAKES THIS MUSAKHAN RECIPE SPECIAL?
Traditional: Musakhan is a traditional Palestinian recipe with ingredients, and cooking techniques passed down for generations.
Authentic taste: The use of sumac gives this dish a unique taste. It's common in Middle Eastern cuisines and is tangy and slightly sour.
Culturally significant: This dish is culturally significant in Palestinian and Middle Eastern cultures. Plus, serving it family-style encourages sharing and conversation, perfect for a gathering with friends and family.
WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF MUSAKHAN?
Musakhan is extremely popular in Palestine, so much so that it's considered Palestine's national dish. It is also a favored dish among Jordanians. The ingredients in Musakhan are easily obtainable and used in many other dishes in the region, which may account for its widespread popularity.
This dish is often served during special occasions like weddings, festivals, and holidays. The specific recipes and cooking techniques have been passed down for generations, making this a significant dish in the Levant.
🥘 INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED FOR MUSAKHAN
Chicken: We'll use a whole chicken cut in half, but you can go for chicken thighs or legs for this recipe; much of the flavor comes from the bone. You can leave the skin on or take it off, whichever you prefer.
Seasoning: The seasonings are what bring this dish together. Cinnamon and paprika provide a warm, slightly sweet flavor, with sumac making it tangy and slightly sour.
Lemon juice: We will use lemon juice to help tenderize the chicken and give it a slightly citrusy taste.
You can scroll down to the recipe card for further details and instructions.
🔪 HOW TO MAKE MUSAKHAN
Making Musakhan may seem tricky, but it's incredibly easy and rewarding.
The full instructions are in the recipe card below, but let's look at the main steps to making this treat.
Start by preheating your oven to 220C/ 400F.
In the baking pan, add all the ingredients except the chicken. Mix and rub the ingredients together well with your hands.
Next, add the chicken to the baking pan. Mix and rub again for the chicken to be coated with spices.
Place the chicken over the onion. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. If you are baking the chicken with the skin on, place the chicken skin down over the onion.
When the chicken is done, flip the chicken skin side up and broil it to give the skin a beautiful golden brown color. Serve the chicken with bread on the side. Or, place Arabic bread (taboon or naan bread) in the baking pan, then add the chicken on top with the onion and juices.
Your delicious Musakhan is ready to be served.
💭 COOKING TIPS FOR MUSAKHAN
Musakhan is a relatively simple dish, but here are some tips to ensure it turns out perfectly!
Go for chicken thighs or legs: In this recipe, you can go for chicken thighs or legs since the bones add a lot more flavor to the dish. But otherwise, boneless chicken cubes will work just fine as well!
Choose the right size chicken: If you use a large chicken, it will take longer to cook and may become dry. It's better to choose medium or small-sized pieces for this recipe.
Get rid of frozen chicken smell: Most frozen chickens have a smell to them, and you can get rid of it by rubbing the chicken with salt and white vinegar, then placing it in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes. Wash and pat it dry and use it in the recipe.
Marinate the chicken overnight: The longer you marinate it, the more flavorful it will be. Let it sit covered in the fridge overnight with spices and onion to bring out the flavors.
Use a baking pan with high sides: This will help to contain all the juices and prevent them from dripping out of the pan during cooking.
📖 DELICIOUS VARIATIONS FOR MUSAKHAN
Musakhan is a simple dish and can easily be adapted to different tastes. Here are some delicious variations to make your Musakhan more interesting.
- Add vegetables: Vegetables like cauliflower, zucchini, sweet potatoes, or eggplants can be added for a healthier and more colorful dish.
- Switch up the meat: You can replace the chicken with other proteins, like beef, lamb, or fish. This will give you a different but still delicious flavor.
- Try different seasonings: You can switch out some traditional seasonings for more unique ones, such as turmeric, cumin, and coriander.
🍲 MORE CHICKEN RECIPES YOU'LL LOVE
🌡️ HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER MUSAKHAN
If you have any leftover Musakhan, the best way to store it is in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Leftover Musakhan will last for up to 3 days when stored properly.
Place it in a preheated oven at 350F/175C for about 10-15 minutes to reheat. You can also microwave it for a few minutes until hot.
- 1200 grams chicken cut in half or quarters with or without skin
- 3 large onions thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoon sumac
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Salt to taste I have used 1 teaspoon
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- Preheat the oven to 220C/ 400F.
- In the baking pan, add all the ingredients except the chicken, Mix and rub the ingredients together well with your hands.
- Add the chicken and mix and rub again for the chicken to be coated with spices.
- Place the chicken over the onion, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. If you are baking the chicken with skin on, place the chicken skin down over the onion, like it is shown in the video.
- When the chicken is done, remove the aluminum foil and flip the chicken skin up and broil to give the skin a beautiful color.
TO SERVE THE CHICKEN
- You can serve the chicken with bread on the side.
- Another way to serve the chicken is by placing Arabic bread on a serving plate, then adding the chicken on top with the onion and juices.
- You can go for chicken thighs or legs and use chicken cubes in this recipe, but there is a lot of flavors from the bones.
- Most frozen chickens have a smell to them, and you can get rid of it by rubbing the chicken with salt and white vinegar, then placing it covered in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes. Wash and pat it dry and use it in the recipe.
- The nutrition values are calculated for the chicken with skin.