Traditional Palestinian Musakhan Recipe is the epitome of a warm cozy chicken dish. It is a warm-your-heart juicy Middle Eastern chicken meal that is flavor-packed with sumac and caramelized onions. It will definitely dazzle your taste buds.
This traditional Middle-Eastern dish is known far and wide as a national Palestinian plate. This incredible recipe features tender chicken marinated in an aromatic blend of sumac, olive oil, seven spices, garlic powder, ground coriander, and salt. It is then brought to life by onions caramelized to perfection with sumac and olive oil, finally topped with crunchy pine nuts.
Savor every bit!
Mouth-Watering Palestinian Musakhan Recipe!
What is Sumac?
Sumac (also called Sumach) is originally a flowering plant. In Arabic, it is called “Summaq” which means dark red or crimson. These plants grow in East Asia, North America, and Africa. Sumac is very popularly used as a spice. Also, it has medicinal properties and in some areas of the world is used as an anti-inflammatory remedy.
Sumac has a sour acidic taste which adds zest to salads, fish, and roasted or grilled meat.
Use a skillet instead of a saucepan when frying the onions. This will prevent onions from sticking.
If the onions are sticking in the pan, add a tablespoon of water.
Fry the onions on low heat for the best result.
To speed up the browning process while frying onions, add a sprinkle of sugar.
You can splash some balsamic vinegar. This will help in balancing the flavors along with the brownish color of the onions.
The best time to cook authentic Palestinian Musakhan is during olive oil season!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
You can decorate the top of your dish, in addition to pine nuts, by adding cashew nuts, raisins, and almonds.
Bone-in chicken is the traditional choice that makes the best juicy flavor. However, chicken thighs, chicken breast, or drumsticks can be used, too.
Of course! First, separate the chicken from the flatbread. Then, put it in an airtight container in the fridge for three days.
Indeed, sumac is healthy. It reduces blood pressure and is an apt choice for people who have liver problems.
Musakhan chicken is often paired with traditional sides such as a plate of fresh veggies, crunchy pickles, olives, and a fresh bowl of salad. You can definitely choose to have authentic tabouleh or any seasonal salad.
Our Beloved Middle Eastern Musakhan!
How to Make the Perfect Traditional Palestinian Musakhan
GOOD QUALITY olive oil is a necessity. Palestinian olive oil is so rich and robust in flavor, and it is perfect for Musakhan.
GOOD QUALITY sumac is essential. Sumac is tangy and has a tiny bit of natural salt. It’s grown in abundance in Palestine and is the star of this dish.
BREAD: Traditionally, you’ll need Taboon (Palestinian bread baked in a rock/in-ground oven). However, because it’s not readily available here across the U.S, plain Naan works as a wonderful substitute. So, Musakhan bread alternatives are easy to find!
ONIONS: I LOVE using red onions for Musakhan rather than yellow onions. Red onions naturally have a slightly sweeter taste, and the combination of the onions and tangy Sumac creates a flavorful dish.
Let’s Get in the Kitchen, Shall we?
For the Palestinian Musakhan Traditional Recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:
Chicken bullion powder
Taboon or plain Naan (bread)
First, dice your onions. The onions should not be neither finely chopped nor coarsely chopped. They also should not be sliced into thin wings.
Next, sauté onions on low heat. At this point, there should not be any oil in the pot. After about 15-20 minutes, the onions should look soft and have a bright pink color to them.
Then, add the olive oil and mix. The heat should still be on low.
After, add the spices and mix once again.
Next, you want to cook on medium-low heat for 30 minutes.
Finally, spread a layer over the bread, then sprinkle sumac and nuts and repeat.
Preheat your oven to 450 Fahrenheit.
Cut the chicken into your desired pieces. Typically, chicken for Musakhan is cut either into 2 halves (of a whole chicken) or into 4 pieces.
Pat dry with a paper towel.
Mix the spices together with the olive oil, then brush onto each chicken piece, making sure to get the underside.
Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, making sure the chicken is not tightly packed so it has enough room to crisp up.
Cover with aluminum foil, and bake for about 1 hour, then uncover and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, so the skin gets crispy and develops a golden-brown color.
Assemble the Musakhan once the onions are cooked.
Start with 1 Naan or Taboon. Using a slotted spoon, take some onions and spread them on top. Depending on the size of your bread, add enough to reach the edges but not enough to pile it in the middle.
Sprinkle some sumac all around.
Scatter some toasted or pan-fried pine nuts.
Serve each person their own piece of bread topped with a piece of chicken, or layer multiple bread pieces on top of each other.
Add the chicken on the final top layer. For gatherings, recommend layering them on top of each other.
Cut pieces as desired. You’d need 10 large pieces of bread.
Authentic Palestinian Musakhan Recipe
- 8 large red onions medium chopped
- 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
- Chicken bullion powder to taste
- ⅓ cup sumac good quality
- Pine nuts fried or toasted
- Taboon or Plain Naan bread
- 3 small chickens
- Additional spices For the chicken
- 3 small chickens
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sumac
- 1 tablespoon 7 spices
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons salt
- Cut the onions and sauté in a pan on low heat. Keep mixing until the onions become soft, have a bright pink color to them, and have released all their water. Keep mixing and add spices. Spread the onions on the bread. Sprinkle sumac and nuts, and repeat.
- Preheat your oven to 450 Fahrenheit. Chicken for Musakhan is cut either into 2 halves (of a whole chicken) or into 4 pieces. Then, dry it with a paper towel.
- Mix the spices together with the olive oil, then brush onto each chicken piece from all sides. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, making sure the chicken is not tightly packed so it has enough room to crisp up.
- Cover with aluminum foil, and bake for about 1 hour, then uncover and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, so the skin gets crispy and develops a golden-brown color.
- Start with 1 Naan or Taboon. Using a slotted spoon, take some onions and spread on top. Depending on the size of your bread, add enough to reach the edges but not so much that it piles up in the middle.
- Sprinkle some sumac all around and some fried pine nuts.
- Serve each chicken on a bread piece topped for one person or layer multiple bread pieces on top of each other. Then, add the chicken on the final top layer. For gatherings, I recommend layering them on top of each other, then cutting pieces as desired.
- You can find Sumac online or in most Middle Eastern grocery stores.
- You can make Taboon or buy it, but Naan is a perfect alternative.