musakhan recipe from scratch

Palestinian Musakhan





30 min


1 hr


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Palestinian Musakhan

Palestinian Sumac Chicken with Caramelized Onion and Taboon Bread

The Recipe Intro has step by step pictures and Video Tutorial on how to make Palestinian Musakhan. Check it out.

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‘Palestinian Musakhan’  Baked Sumac Chicken with Taboon Bread (With VIDEO)


For the Taboon Bread:

  • 10 ½ oz ‏plain flour
  • 7 oz ‏bread flour plus upto 7 oz extra
  • 1 tsp ‏salt
  • 1 ½ Tbsp ‏zataar spice
  • 1 Tbsp ‏sugar
  • 2 Tbsp ‏olive oil
  • 325 ml ‏warm water
  • 2 Tbsp ‏Zataar and / or 1 ½ Tbsp Sumac for sprinkling

For the Caremelized Onion Sauce:

  • 3 large ‏onions, chopped finely
  •  ¼ cup ‏olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp ‏sumac

For the Roasted Chicken:

  • 1 whole ‏chicken  cleaned, rinsed well with skin and bones intact - cut into 2 or 4 sections
  • Juice of two ‏small limes
  • 2 ‏onions, chopped finely
  • 2 - 4 Tbsp ‏olive oil
  • 1 ¼ tsp ‏cardamom powder
  • 1  ¼ tsp ‏black pepper powder
  • 1  ¼  tsp ‏salt
  • 1 Tbsp ‏sumac
  • 3 Tbsp ‏Pine Nuts / Almond flakes or I like to use Sunflower seeds


For the Taboon Bread:

  • Sift both flours into a bowl, reserving the extra 7 oz of bread flour separately.
  • Add the instant yeast, sugar, salt and zataar spice to the flour mixture.
  • In another bowl, combine the warm water with olive oil.
  • Add the water solution to the dried ingredients and stir to completely mix the flour into a soft, sticky dough.
  • Cover the bowl with a wet cloth and leave to ‘prove’ for 10 minutes.
  •  Turn out the dough onto a floured surface.
  • Flour your hands too. Add just enough of the reserved flour to be able to knead the dough. Knead for 10 minutes into a dough that is very sticky and still shiny. (You can use a dough scraper to help with the sticky dough).
  • Oil a clean dry bowl well. Also oil your hands. Turn out the dough into the oiled  bowl and turn a couple of times so that the entire surface is oiled.
  • Smoothen the surface.
  • Cover with cling wrap and leave for 1 hour, till the dough has risen.
  • Flour your hands well. Knock down the dough gently. On a floured surface, divide into 6 equal portions. Roll each ball on floured surface into an 18 cm roundish shape. (Doesn’t have to be perfect – I love the rustic look).
  • Place each round onto 6 lightly floured pieces of cloth.
  • Use a water spritzer to spray a little water over surface and then sprinkle the zataar and sumac over the breads. (I sometimes omit the  zataar here).
  • Leave to prove for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile preheat the oven to MAX Temp, placing a pizza stone or old tray inside.  You can also use a tray with small clean stones/ baking stones  on it. It needs to get very hot.
  • Place 1- 3 pieces of bread at a time on the stone. Close quickly and allow to puff up and get golden.
  • ( Do not open the oven too often, The temperature will drop. Take the bread to the oven along with the cloth on which it is placed. Carefully  flip over and fold the cloth in from both sides to peel it off easily. Then flip onto the hot stone. Slide out the oven rack on which the stone is placed if your oven is smaller and close the oven quickly ).
  • Set aside the baked breads.

For the Roasted Chicken:

  • Clean the chicken well. Split the chicken into to 2 halves.
  • Rinse and drain well.
  • Marinate well with the juice of two small limes and a little olive oil.
  • Set aside while chopping onions.
  • Heat the olive oil in a pot large enough to hold the chicken and broth.
  • Add the onions and saute till just softened.
  • Add the marinated chicken and toss in the onions briefly.
  • Add enough water to cover the chicken.
  • Add the cardamom powder, salt and pepper.
  • Bring to boil on HIGH. Then cover, reduce heat to LOW and cook for 30 minutes, skimming off any scum that appears on top.
  • Remove the chicken from the broth and add to the onion sauce that is being prepared on a separate burner ( see below). Cook with the onion for 2-3 minutes only. Then transfer the chicken only to an oven proof oiled dish and Sprinkle with Sumac.
  • Place in the oven in the rack closer to the top grill. Roast just till the skin is crisp and deep golden olden brown. Preheat oven to High Heat. (230 °c  / 446°F). Time may vary. 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Allow to cool. You can serve as is. OR Remove the skin and bones and shred the chicken by hand to small strips as I have done.

For the Caremelized Onion Sauce:

  • After you have covered the Pot of stock with chicken and left to simmer, start to prepare the Onion Sauce.
  • Add the olive oil to a medium sized pot. Non stick is good.
  • Also add the chopped onion and on medium heat, slowly cook and reduce the onions till very soft and cooked.
  • Cook around 15- 20 minutes till the onions are considerably reduced – then add a few ladles of the chicken stock into the onions and simmer.
  • Remove the chicken that has been cooked and add to the onion mixture. Cook for 3 minutes and remove. Continue as mentioned above.
  • Add the sumac and and a little salt and pepper to taste and continue to cook down the  onions and stock till it becomes a saucy texture.

To Assemble Palestinian Musakhan: Choose whichever method you prefer.

  • Dip each bread in the remaining stock to gently soak.
  • Lay in casserole or Tray. Cover with a layer of the onion sumac sauce.
  • Then cover with another layer of the  shredded chicken. (Like a pizza)
  • Sprinkle some sumac and toasted nuts.
  • Bake for around 3 – 5 till the bread has become slightly crisp on medium high heat. Repeat with remaining bread and topping.
  • OR Do the same but place the bread, onion and chicken in a deep round casserole (oiled). Continue with next layers of bread, sauce and chicken and end with a bread layer, sprinkled with sumac. This makes a one dish meal that can be cut and served in portions. (Like a Lasagna).
  • Instead of layers, each bread with topping can also be rolled up like a burrito and placed side by side in a rectangular dish. (Like Enchiladas). If baking in casserole dish, bake upto 20 minutes, till the bread looks golden from the sides.
  • Serve with Baba Ganoush Or Toom (Arabian Garlic Sauce).

Palestinian Musakhan


To make a lighter ‘Toom’ , add ¾ cup water mixed with 2 Tbsp cornflour to a sauce pan and bring to simmer. Stir well for 2 minutes till nice and thick. Allow to cool slightly.
While still a little warm, add 1-2 small cloves garlic (crushed with salt).
When cooled add to a mixer/blender and add 2 Tbsp water. Mix till it becomes WHITE. While the blender is still running. drizzle in ¼ cup of oil ( sunflower/ canola) in a thin stream. Add just enough of the oil to get the desired consistency. Add a little lemon juice as per taste.

Key Ingredients: Chicken, Spice, Olive Oil, Onion, Sumac, Flour, Sugar, Yeast, Salt, Za’atar, Pine Nuts.


Let us know if you tried –  Palestinian Musakhan

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