Healthy and Flavorful Maftoul with Chicken Recipe

Are you looking to spice up your dinner tonight? Look no further than this delicious Maftoul with chicken recipe! Originating from the Middle East, also known as Israeli couscous or pearl couscous, Maftoul is a larger variety of couscous that adds a unique texture to any dish. This Middle Eastern-inspired recipe features juicy chicken, chickpeas, and warm spices that will transport your taste buds to the heart of Palestine.

As an Israeli chef, I am passionate about sharing the flavors and culture of my homeland through food. Maftoul has been a staple of Palestinian cuisine for generations, and I am excited to share my take on this classic dish with you.

What makes this maftoul chicken dish so special is how easy it is to prepare. With just a handful of ingredients, you can create a hearty and flavorful meal for your family and friends. Plus, it’s versatile enough to be served at a casual dinner party or as a comforting weeknight meal.

I encourage you to give this maftoul chicken recipe a try and discover the delicious flavors of the Middle East in your own home. So let’s roll up our sleeves, gather our ingredients, and get started!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Maftoul With Chicken - Middle Eastern (Israeli Cous Cous)
Maftoul With Chicken – Middle Eastern (Israeli Cous Cous)

As an Israeli chef, I can assure you that Maftoul with Chicken is a dish that will earn a permanent spot in your recipe collection. This Middle Eastern dish, also known as Palestinian couscous or Israeli couscous, is sure to impress your taste buds.

The combination of tender chicken and pearl couscous creates a perfect balance of flavors and textures that will leave you craving for more. The blend of coriander powder, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, and fenugreek elevates the taste profile of the dish and adds an intense aroma to it.

What sets maftoul apart from other couscous recipes is its larger size that gives every bite a delightful chewiness that will remind you of your grandmother’s cooking. This dish is easy to make while providing the satisfaction of creating something special for yourself and loved ones.

Not only is this recipe delicious but it also uses healthy ingredients like chickpeas and fresh vegetables like chopped tomatoes and onions. You can even substitute chicken with lamb or beef if desired to create a whole new culinary experience.

Maftoul with chicken makes for an excellent dish for family gatherings, dinner parties or even as a satisfying meal for solo cooking

sessions. It’s a one-pot dinner that you’re going to love putting together in less than an hour.

This hearty and filling nutrition-packed meal is perfect for any occasion – casual or formal. I encourage you to try cooking Maftoul with Chicken today and fall in love with its delicious flavors that are unique to the Middle Eastern cuisine culture!

Ingredient List

 Aromatic Maftoul With Tender Chicken Chunks for a Perfect Sunday Lunch.
Aromatic Maftoul With Tender Chicken Chunks for a Perfect Sunday Lunch.

Here are the ingredients you will need to make this flavorful and hearty dish:

  • 4 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon clarified butter
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 5 cups water or chicken broth
  • 2 cups Maftoul (also known as Palestinian couscous or Israeli pearl couscous)
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large tomato, chopped

Note that for this recipe, it’s important to use Palestinian couscous, also known as Maftoul. This larger couscous variety is also called giant couscous or Israeli couscous, but Maftoul is the type of couscous traditionally used in Middle Eastern cuisine. It’s a tasty alternative to traditional Moroccan couscous and has a satisfyingly chewy texture.

The Recipe How-To

 This Hearty and Fragrant Maftoul Recipe is a Feast for All Senses.
This Hearty and Fragrant Maftoul Recipe is a Feast for All Senses.

Now, let’s move on to the most-awaited part of this recipe article—the how-to section!

Step 1: Cook the Chicken

First things first, cook the chicken until it turns golden brown. In a pan, heat up 1 tablespoon of clarified butter and 1 tablespoon of oil on medium-high heat. Once hot, add in the chicken and saute for at least 4 minutes or until golden brown.

Step 2: Basic Couscous Cooking

In a separate pot, bring 5 cups of water into a boil using high heat. Add in 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, coriander powder, ground cumin, ground fenugreek (optional), allspice, salt, and black pepper. Stir well.

Then add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and [maftoul] couscous to the water mixture. We’re using maftoul which is a larger variety couscous also known as Palestinian couscous or pearl couscous which is common in Middle Eastern or Israeli cuisine. Note, that there are different variations of couscous so make sure you don’t confuse one type from another. Reduce heat to low-medium and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes until tender.

Step 3: Chickpeas Addition

When the couscous is cooked and tender, drain any excess liquid and add in one chopped medium-sized onion with chickpeas. Cook for an additional two minutes.

Step 4: Combining Everything

Stir in chopped tomato then place the chicken along with any juices that have collected into the pot. Let it simmer for another five minutes until everything has blended together then remove from heat.

There you have it! A flavorful dish that will surely impress anyone who gets to taste it. Now that you have learned how to make this delicious Maftoul with Chicken recipe I can’t wait for you to tell me about your own experience cooking it!

Substitutions and Variations

 The Nutty Flavor of Maftoul is Perfectly Complemented by Tender, Juicy Chicken Pieces.
The Nutty Flavor of Maftoul is Perfectly Complemented by Tender, Juicy Chicken Pieces.

This Maftoul with Chicken recipe is undeniably delicious as it is, but if you’re looking to switch things up a bit, there are some simple substitutions and variations you can make. Here are some options to consider:

– Vegetarian: If you want to make this dish vegetarian-friendly, simply omit the chicken and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. You could also consider adding in some extra vegetables, like diced bell peppers, zucchini or eggplant.

– Different protein: If you’re not a fan of chicken, you could easily substitute it with another protein source such as beef, lamb or even tofu.

– Different couscous: This recipe calls for maftoul which is a larger variety of couscous also known as Palestinian couscous. However, you could still use other types of couscous, such as Israeli couscous (which is a small pearl-shaped pasta) or giant couscous (made from semolina wheat). Keep in mind that different types of couscous have different cook times and will need to be adjusted accordingly.

– Spice mix: This recipe calls for a Middle Eastern spice blend made from cinnamon, coriander powder, ground cumin, ground fenugreek and allspice. If you don’t have all these spices on hand or just want to try something different altogether, experiment with your own spice blend that best suits your taste preferences.

– Additional ingredients: Feel free to add additional ingredients to this recipe to make it truly your own. Consider sautéed mushrooms, fava beans or even crispy bacon crumbles. The options are endless!

Whatever substitutions or variations you choose to make with this Maftoul with Chicken recipe, the end result will still be deliciously satisfying. So be creative and make this dish your own!

Serving and Pairing

 Get Ready to Indulge in a Melange of Spices Blended Exquisitely with Israeli Cous Cous.
Get Ready to Indulge in a Melange of Spices Blended Exquisitely with Israeli Cous Cous.

This hearty Maftoul with chicken dish is a complete meal all on its own, but you can also serve it as a side with meat or fish. The pearl couscous chicken pairs perfectly with a light salad of mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers dressed with lemon juice and olive oil.

For a Middle Eastern-themed dinner party, consider starting off with hummus and baba ghanoush appetizers alongside warm pita bread. Follow that up with this flavorful Maftoul dish, and finish off the meal with some homemade baklava for dessert.

If you’re looking for a wine pairing, a light-bodied red like Pinot Noir or Chianti will complement the spices in this dish. For non-alcoholic options, try serving iced mint tea to balance out the heat of the cumin and allspice.

No matter how you choose to serve and pair this Maftoul with chicken recipe, you and your guests are sure to be delighted by these delicious Middle Eastern flavors.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The Best Way to Savor Comforting Bite-sized Maftoul Is with a Rich Chicken Gravy.
The Best Way to Savor Comforting Bite-sized Maftoul Is with a Rich Chicken Gravy.

Maftoul with Chicken, like any great meal, lends itself well to making ahead of time. Once cooked, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days or frozen in airtight containers for up to three months.

When reheating the dish, you have a few options. You can either microwave it with a little water or stock to help retain moisture and texture, or you can gently heat it over low heat on the stovetop until it’s warmed through.

For make-ahead options, you can cook the maftoul and chicken together but hold off adding any other ingredients until right before serving. This will allow the flavors to develop even more, creating a richer depth of flavor when you’re finally ready to serve.

If you have leftovers, try experimenting with different serving suggestions. You could add some fresh greens and vegetables to create a light and healthy salad, or even use it as a filling for wraps or sandwiches – perfect for lunchtime meals on-the-go!

Overall, Maftoul with Chicken is a versatile and hearty meal that is sure to impress. Its ability to store and reheat easily make it an ideal candidate for meal prep or cooking ahead of time.

Tips for Perfect Results

 A Bowl of Flavorful Maftoul and Chicken Will Warm You Up Even on the Coldest of Nights
A Bowl of Flavorful Maftoul and Chicken Will Warm You Up Even on the Coldest of Nights

Making maftoul with chicken requires a few cooking techniques to get it just right. Here are some tips to make the perfect dish:

1. Cook the Maftoul Al Dente:

It is important not to overcook maftoul or pearl couscous. Like regular pasta, maftoul should be al dente, which means that it should still retain some bite and not be mushy. Cooking time may vary based on the brand and size of pasta, so it’s essential to check the instructions on the package.

2. Use Chicken Thighs Instead of Chicken Breasts:

When making maftoul with chicken, use chicken thighs instead of breasts. Chicken thighs have more fat content, which makes them tender and juicy after cooking. On the other hand, if you prefer white meat, try using chicken breasts cooked at low heat to keep them moist.

3. Sear Chicken Thighs for More Flavor:

Before adding chicken thighs to the pot, sear them in olive oil. Searing helps lock in moisture and adds delicious caramelized flavor that will enhance the overall taste of your dish.

4. Use Quality Spices:

Middle Eastern cuisine features a blend of aromatic spices that add warmth and depth of flavor to dishes like maftoul with chicken. Make sure you’re using fresh spices such as cinnamon, coriander powder, ground cumin, ground fenugreek, and allspice.

5. Let Everything Simmer Together:

After you’ve added all components such as chickpeas and onions, add 5 cups of water or broth and let everything simmer together gently until cooked correctly. It ensures that all elements blend together perfectly giving a balanced taste.

6. Don’t Overload The Dish With Ingredients:

Maftoul with chicken is already a hearty dish by itself; therefore try not to overfill it with too many ingredients as it might interfere with the perfect balance of taste desired by everyone who loves this traditional Middle-Eastern dish.

By following these tips mentioned above, you’ll surely end up with flavorful maftoul with chicken that can compete with restaurant-level quality at home!


Before you start cooking this delicious maftoul with chicken recipe, let’s take a moment to address some of the frequently asked questions about this dish. These FAQ will help clear up any confusion and ensure that you have all the information you need to make the meal a success. So, let’s dive right in!

Is Maftoul same as Israeli couscous?

Maftoul is a type of wheat-based pasta that is often compared to couscous but has distinct differences. Unlike couscous from North Africa, maftoul is much larger in size and is prepared using a different technique. It has a texture similar to Israeli couscous, but with a unique taste that sets it apart.

Is Maftoul the same as giant couscous?

Maftoul, a dish savored by Palestinians, is a versatile food that can be enjoyed both in grand feasts or simple meals fit for royalty or the common man. With its robust texture and flavorful profile, it can easily substitute other grains in any recipe. This dish is often compared to couscous, but its unique nuttiness sets it apart as a culinary experience all on its own.

Is Maftoul the same as pearl couscous?

There are two types of couscous available, one is small and commonly known as couscous or maftoul, and the other is larger and called pearl couscous or moghrabieh. Both of them belong to the pasta family.

What is Maftoul made of?

Maftoul, a type of wheat grain that is bigger than couscous with slightly uneven hand-rolled grains, is definitely worth trying out. Its simple and accommodating cooking process makes it an excellent addition to any dish.

Bottom Line

I hope you give this Maftoul with Chicken recipe a try! Whether you’re already a fan of Middle Eastern cuisine or looking to venture into new flavor territory, it’s an ideal choice for a delicious and satisfying meal. The aromatic spices and tender chicken paired with the hearty pearl couscous and chickpeas make for a perfect balance of textures and flavors that is sure to please even the pickiest eaters.

Don’t be intimidated by the ingredient list. With just a few simple steps and some patience, you’ll be able to create a dish that will impress both friends and family alike. Plus, you can easily customize this recipe to your liking by adjusting spices or using different protein options.

As someone passionate about Israeli cuisine, I encourage you to explore the world of Middle Eastern flavors through dishes like Maftoul with Chicken. Not only will it expand your culinary horizons, but it also provides an opportunity to learn more about the culture and history behind this cuisine.

So go ahead and learn more about what makes Palestinian Couscous Maftoul unique, grab your ingredients, and get cooking! Enjoy the delightful aromas filling your kitchen and savor every bite of this delicious Middle Eastern dish.

Maftoul With Chicken - Middle Eastern (Israeli Cous Cous)

Maftoul With Chicken - Middle Eastern (Israeli Cous Cous) Recipe

Maftoul is basically very large couscous. You can use Lebanese couscous, Israeli couscous, Berkukis etc for this beautiful dish. Easy to make!
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Calories 828.2 kcal


  • 5 cups chickpeas (tinned)
  • 5 cups maftoul couscous
  • 8 pieces chicken, of your choice (or a whole chicken portioned)
  • 4 onions, sliced into semi circles
  • 1 cup chopped tomato (fresh or tinned)
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sumac
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 2 pints water


  • Fry the spices and onion in a little olive oil. Add the chicken and seal well.
  • Bring 1/2 liter of water to the boil. Place maftoul in large bowl and pour over enough to cover the maftoul. After 10 seconds, drain off water and mix in 1/2 tsp salt before placing maftoul in the steamer.
  • Pour tomatoes over chicken and add salt & pepper to taste. Cover with water (water should come about 2" over the ingredients). At this point you can add a chicken stock cube if you wish. Cover and cook for 45 mins on medium heat.
  • If you have a large couscousier or double steamer you can cook the sauce in the bottom and maftoul in the top which is preferable as the maftoul absorbs the flavours --.
  • Remove the chicken from the sauce and place on a baking sheet in the oven (180 degrees c) for 10 minutes to brown off and dry out.
  • Whilst chicken is in the oven, add the chickpeas to the sauce and cook gently for 10 minutes.
  • Check seasoning. Take 8 bowls, divide the maftoul between them. Pour over some sauce then top with the chicken pieces.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 554gCalories: 828.2kcalCarbohydrates: 124.1gProtein: 40.7gFat: 17.6gSaturated Fat: 4.7gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 536.8mgFiber: 13.4gSugar: 2.9g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Asian, Chicken, Meat, Middle Eastern, Poultry, Savory, Spicy, Stove Top
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