August 10, 2015 by Joanne T Ferguson
I can share right away, this is a colorful, healthy, delicious and traditional dish and can more than understand why it is a popular Palestinian dish!
I honestly cannot believe it has been a full month since I asked, “Are You Curious About Omani cuisine?” in creating Joanna’s Interpretation of Shurbah – Pureed Vegetable Soup!
Soon we will be ringing in yet another new year!
Before that happens, I can say how excited I am to be participating in this month’s Middle Eastern and North African Cooking Club‘s challenge experiencing Palestinian cuisine.
Did I know what Palestinian Musakhan, sumac Palestinian chicken with onions, was?
I had tasted various types of Taboon bread aka tabun bread when I spent timed in the Middle East, but I have never made it at home!
I love experiencing foods of all countries and cuisines, especially recipes I have never made before!
How about a few background basics to acquaint you with Palestine, eh?
Palestine is located on the continent of Asia, located between Egypt, Syria and Arabia and between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.
I am someone, who on occasion, can be “geographically gifted” and being honest, it is sometimes difficult to keep “up to date” with historical changes, not only in the Middle East, but throughout the world.
For simplicity sake, the Jewish state of Israel, was establish in 1948 after World War II.
In 1948, the United Nations declared the area that was known as Palestine, to be divided into two separate countries; Palestine and Israel; Arab leaders rejected this and invaded to maintain a unified, independent Arab Palestine.
They lost, and at the end of the fighting, Israel controlled “even more” of the land than the United Nations had granted them; one of the areas, still under Palestinian control is The Gaza Strip.
Israel occupied the territory in 1967, but withdrew its troops in 2005.
The State of Palestine, not recognized by all countries, was established in 1988 and is controlled by The Palestinian Liberation Organization aka The PLO.
Many people ask why Israel and Palestine don’t just become separate countries; the answer lies in that neither party cannot agree where to draw borders; who gets what land and how it is controlled.
I don’t know about you, but all of this has caused FANG, one of my food nicknames, to be hungry!
Palestinian cuisine, based on its history, is similar to Turkish, Lebanese and Israeli cuisine.
While recipes and cooking styles vary from region to region, ingredients used in Palestinian recipes are usually based on climate, location and tradition.
Palestinian culture revolves around food in every aspect, whether daily life or special occasions.
Like in most Arab countries, meal times are usually spent with family and can take up to 1 to 2 hours, with lunch being the primary course, and breakfast and dinner being lighter in content.
Fatur is a term for breakfast, which usually consists of eggs, labaneh, olives, jams and olive oil; hummus is usually enjoyed throughout the day.
Ghada, meaning lunch, usually consists of more substantial chicken, lamb and rice dishes.
Asha is the term for dinner, which is usually eaten between 8 – 10 p.m and may consist of a variety of salads and dips.
As with previous Middle Eastern and North African Cook Club‘s challenges, three recipes are chosen; savory, soup and or sweets.
This month’s recipes were: Palestinian Musakhan — sumac Palestinian chicken with onions, Shorbet Adas — Lentil Soup and Kunafe Nubulsia , a “gooey sweet cheese sandwiched between layers of shredded kunafe pastry.”
I decided to try my good friend Sawsan from Chef in Disguise‘s Musakhan, also making Taboon bread from scratch!
I was so glad, I did as Sawsan shared:
“Musakhan is one of the most popular and traditional Palestinian recipes. It is usually prepared during the olive oil pressing season to celebrate freshly pressed oil but you can see it on the menu all year round in family gatherings and parties. Musakhan is all about fresh, simple ingredients allowed to shine. Good olive oil, tangy sumac, a hint of spices, onions caramelized to the point of being sweet and tender, perfectly roasted chicken and fresh bread. Simple yet you have to taste it to see how a dish can be much more than the sum of its parts.”
I halved Sawsan’s recipe, air fried my chicken pieces and used Azlin Bloor’s Taboon Bread recipe found via LinsFood.
- 500 grams onions peeled and chopped
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Sumac
- ¼ teaspoon cardamon
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 chicken breast pieces; bone in
- ¼ teaspoon cardamon
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- taboon bread
- For the decoration
- Nuts for topping; pan dry roasted (pine nuts or almonds are the most commonly used ones)
- 1 tablespoon sumac
- Place onions in a pot and add enough olive oil to submerge the onions completely.
- Cook the onion over low heat stirring occasionally til the onions are translucent but still hold their shape and have some texture; you don't want them mushy. (this will take 20 - 30 minutes)
- Once the onions are done, place them in a colander to drain off the olive oil; Do not discard the oil.
- After the oil has been drained off, sprinkle the onions with sumac, cardamon and black pepper and toss them until they are completely coated with sumac (note the color and the taste deepens when you leave the onions aside so add the sumac gradually, you can always add more if you want.
- The Chicken (see Notes); can sear, poach the chicken in a separate pan on the stove top.
- Assemble the musakhan (see Notes)
- Pre heat over to 200C and place on the rack on the bottom.
- brush the bread with some of the olive oil strained from cooking and onions.
- Remove from oven and top with nuts, sprinkle with sumac and serve with yogurt; I chose homemade feta.
Per Sawsan, "make sure you don't chop the onions too fine or they will get soft with cooking and lose texture."
I air fried the chicken for 20 minutes; 220C.
Taboon Bread Linsfood used, but followed Sawsan's instructions to assemble.
Sawsan’s recipe was “mouth-watering tasty” and “absolutely delicious,” and you can quote me on that!
Hands up, who would like to try this Palestinian Musakhan now?
Have you ever experienced Palestinian cuisine?
Have you learned something new through this blog post today?
Of the three recipes, which one would you have chosen?
Please feel free to hop over to see what other members from the Middle Eastern and North African Cooking Club made this month too!
All comments, shares and pins MAKE MY DAY!